Collaborative Research: Studying the Malleability and Impact of Science Learning Activation

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This project will investigate the factors that serve as catalysts for developing necessary knowledge and career interest in science by the end of middle school. In particular, it test a theory (Science Learning Activation) regarding reasoning and motivational factors that both 1) predict learner successes in proximal science learning situations, and 2) are influenced by successes in proximal science learning situations. The theory is tested in a longitudinal study of a diverse set of 6th and 8th graders over 1 1/2 years.


Pittsburgh and the Bay Area.

Research Design: 

The project will generate evidence that is associative/correlational [quasi-experimental, growth curve modeling, structural equation modeling]. Original data are being collected on 6th and 8th graders from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities experiencing hands-on or textbook science using school records, assessments of learning, observation [personal observation], and survey research [self-completion questionnaire]. Instruments or measures include:

  • Science activation (Science Fascination, Values Science, Science Competency Beliefs, Scientific Sensemaking)
  • Engagement (Emotional Engagement, Behavioral/Cognitive Engagement)
  • Perceived Success
  • Science choice preferences
  • Career intent
  • Demographics
  • Prior and recent science learning experiences

Data will be analyzed using hierarchical growth curve modeling and structural equation modeling of the relationship between Science Learning Activation and Successes over time.


Findings will be posted as they become available.

Publications & Presentations: 

See the project website at http://www.activationlab.org

Other Products: 

Instruments for use in evaluation.

Target Population: 
Research Design: 


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