Publication Date

2014

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of aesthetic science activities on improving elementary school at-risk families’ children's positive thinking, attitudes toward science, and decreasing their anxiety about learning science. Thirty-six 4th-grade children from at-risk families volunteered to participate in a 12-week intervention and formed the experimental group; another 97 typical 4th graders were randomly selected to participant in the assessment and were used as the comparison group. The treatment for experimental group children emphasized scaffolding aesthetic science activities and inquiry strategies. The Elementary School Student Questionnaire was administered to assess all children's positive thinking, attitudes toward science, and anxiety about learning science. In addition, nine target children from the experimental group with the lowest scores on either positive thinking, or attitudes toward science, or with the highest scores on anxiety about learning science in the pre-test were recruited to be interviewed at the end of the intervention and observed weekly. Confirmatory factor analyses, analyses of covariance, and content theme analysis assessed the similarities and differences between groups. It was found that the at-risk families’ children were motivated by the treatment and made significant progress on positive thinking and attitudes toward science, and also decreased their anxiety about learning science. The findings from interviews and classroom observations also revealed that the intervention made differences in children's affective perceptions of learning science. Implication and research recommendation are discussed.

School/Institute

Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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