At Glasgow Science Centre (GSC), we have been focusing on children’s understanding of balance using an existing balance board exhibit and pre/post-interviews with the describe, predict, explain format. Our early studies with children indicated that children’s interaction with the balance board led to them using balance-type gestures in post-interaction interviews.
In early 2019, we collected data from adult-child dyads invited into GSC, using the same protocol with slight adaptations: no transfer tasks, a pre-interview, inclusion of the Parents’ Attitudes about Learning Science (PALS) Survey and exploratory questions about enjoyment. This study showed us that the interaction with parents present is generally longer than when children are interacting with other children; and highlights the unique role of adults in scaffolding children’s interaction. We became interested in whether there might be differences in the way GSC facilitators might scaffold children’s interaction experiences, however, and so will also be running the same studies with facilitators instead of parents too. This will help to inform guidelines as to how to enhance facilitation at science exhibits. We are currently in the process of generating inter reliability analysis of data from adult-child dyads collected in March 2019. We are using this analysis to continue developing a video coding framework for future studies.
In November 2019, we recruited parent/carer – child dyads from the GSC science mall floors and are in the process of recruiting preschool children from nurseries to engage in a study with GSC facilitators. We will try to determine if there is a difference in gesture pre during and post exhibit interaction with different adult facilitators.
Alongside this, although somewhat independent of M2L, we have been working on redesign of the existing balance board into a prototype of a digitised, simplified version as part of our Wellcome Trust Impact funding. The redesign is being informed by our current studies and analysis on M2L. We plan to run evaluation studies of the prototype in early 2020.
- Sharon Macnab and Susan Meikleham (Glasgow Science Centre), Andrew Manches, Zayba Ghazali-Mohammed (University of Edinburgh)