Research Publications

Sunstones at The Lawrence

The computational thinking for science framework: Operationalizing CT-S for K-12 science education researchers and educators

Contemporary science is a field that is becoming increasingly computational. Today’s scientists not only leverage computational tools to conduct their investigations, they often must contribute to the design of the computational tools for their specific research. From a science education perspective, for students to learn authentic science practices, students must learn to use the tools of the trade.

Children playing on the DNA sculpture at the Lawrence

A review of augmented reality for informal science learning: Supporting design of intergenerational group learning

Designing for and facilitating intergenerational group learning is an important objective of informal science institutions as most visitors in those settings engage with scientific thinking in the context of a group. New, deeply engaging, and interactive technologies such augmented reality (AR) have been shown to have positive outcomes in educational settings, but their implications have yet to be investigated for the purpose of intergenerational group learning design.

Two children and a staff member are working together during a science activity.

Racial equity and inclusion in United States of America-based environmental education organizations: A critical examination of priorities and practices in the work environment

In the United States of America, societal structures of oppression frame and underpin nearly every field and industry, including environmental education. Despite growing attention on efforts to diversify the environmental education workforce in the United States, environmental fields have had minimal success attracting and retaining professionals of color. This study sought to explore how Environmental Educators of Color experience and are impacted by workplace culture, practices, and policies.

The Lawrence Hall of Science

Learning to Teach to Argue: Case Studies in Professional Learning in Evidence-Based Science Writing

The emphasis on scientific practices articulated by the National Research Council framework and the Next Generation Science Standards requires significant pedagogical shifts for U.S. science teachers. This study provides a rare window into the challenges and opportunities teachers encounter as they introduce argument writing into their science classrooms with support from the National Writing Project’s Inquiry into Science Writing project.

Children playing on Pheena the Whale

Experimental and quasi-experimental designs in visitor studies: A critical reflection on three projects

Identifying causal relationships is an important aspect of research and evaluation in visitor studies, such as making claims about the learning outcomes of a program or exhibit. Experimental and quasi-experimental approaches are powerful tools for addressing these causal questions. However, these designs are arguably underused in visitor studies.

Students in front of The Lawrence

Service learning as a lever to support STEM engagement for underrepresented youth

Women and people of color are consistently underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and careers. Though there are myriad factors underlying these gaps, one potential variable may be the extent to which these students feel connected to their STEM classroom experiences.

A young person looks through a telescope of the view at The Lawrence.

Scientific sensemaking supports science content learning across disciplines and instructional contexts

Science consists of a body of knowledge and a set of processes by which the knowledge is produced. Although these have traditionally been treated separately in science instruction, there has been a shift to an integration of knowledge and processes, or set of practices, in how science should be taught and assessed. We explore whether a general overall mastery of the processes drives learning in new science content areas and if this overall mastery can be improved through engaged science learning.

A child looks through a telescope.

How personal, behavioral, and environmental factors predict working in STEMM vs non-STEMM middle-skill careers

Much of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical (STEMM) education policy and research centers around developing the upper levels of the STEMM workforce sector. However, there are many positions in this workforce, “middle-skill careers,” that are largely responsible for executing the innovations and are largely ignored in STEMM education research.

A child and an adult work together on a science project at an exhibit at The Lawrence.

Problematizing the STEM pipeline metaphor: Is the STEM pipeline metaphor serving our students and the STEM workforce?

Researchers and policy makers often use the metaphor of an ever-narrowing pipeline to describe the trajectory to a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree or career. This study interrogates the appropriateness of the STEM pipeline as the dominant frame for understanding and making policies related to STEM career trajectories.