|Ph.D Student||Hochberg Nurit|
|Subject||Daily Science Workshops at The Youth Science Centers:|
Characteristics, Expectations and Gender
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Tali Tal|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Encouraging students to study sciences is one of the main aims for science education. In order to fulfill this aim, researchers recommend incorporating extracurricular field-trips in out-of-school learning environments such as museums, science centers, zoos, parks, etc. One of such learning environments is the "Science Daily Workshops" [SDW] that take place at the Israeli universities. The SDW provide various activities such as lectures and laboratories in various domains.
The research objectives were to characterize and describe the SDW, with regards to the following four purposes: first, the facilitators' aims and views; second, the workshop's structure; third, the exploration of the academic context in which the SDW take place and forth, the contribution of such activities to boys' and girls' motivation towards actual and further science studies.
The data was collected through 40 different SDW, from three different centers. The participants included: 13 directors in various levels at the youth units and school principals, 73 guides, 96 science teachers and 855 middle and high school students. The methodology was pragmatic mixed-method using: observations, interviews, and questionnaires, official documents published were identified and analyzed as well. Data analysis used both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Findings showed four main views held by the facilitators, guides, and science-teachers with regard to the SDW objectives: science enrichment, promoting thinking and the empowerment of learning sciences. The forth objective, exposure to research and researchers, was addressed to limited extent. Five main methods used by the guides were found: incorporating context-based stories, connecting to everyday experiences, connecting to the curriculum, promoting questions and encouragement of thinking by questioning.
Attentiveness to students' needs and exploring information about the academic institution, and introduced direct information towards academic research processes, were found rarely. Science teachers were found highly involved before, during and after the workshops. The students' involvement in the lectures and labs were encouraged mainly by addressing and promoting their questions or remarks.
The students' expectations were found focused towards their personal participation in the SDW. These expectations, regarding interest during the learning experience: requiring new knowledge and the guides' instructions, and the science teachers' mediation, were all fulfilled and were higher among girls. Boys and girls showed similar approval to the feminine ability in science related occupations.
In summary, the study raises recommendations on how academic facilities may offer a larger exposure for middle and high school students by introducing and meeting a more authentic science working environment.