Saturday science academy: Enhancing scientific knowledge of elementary school students via inquiry


AKARSU B.

ENERGY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PART B-SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL STUDIES, vol.4, no.4, pp.2539-2548, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Title of Journal : ENERGY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PART B-SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.2539-2548

Abstract

The Saturday Science Academy (SSA) was designed to improve elementary and middle school students' interests and excitement in science and consists of several hands-on activities. The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of the SSA programs. It was offered in two consecutive semesters. A Nature of Science questionnaire and Science Interest pre- and post- tests results are investigated. The first semester was designed for students in the 6th grade and the second semester was offered to 3rd grade students. This project was administered at a mid-size university campus in the fall semester of 2010 and the spring semester 2011. Twelve students met in a physics lab on six consecutive Saturday mornings for certain chosen physics topics in the first semester. In the second semester, 15 students met for six weeks. This project enhanced students' research and experimentation skills and self-development process; these are not provided for during regular school settings. During the study, two former science teachers, graduate students in the science education program, taught various topics and levels of science courses in the SSA. Pre-service science teachers enrolled in the science education preparation program assisted them in preparing materials and conducting science activities. The initial results of this study revealed that the Saturday Science Academy not only enhanced students' interests but also increased their knowledge of the nature of science.