Applicable Case Study and Progress Report

My article of focus this week is “Science news stories as boundary objects affecting engagement with science” by Polman and Hope. This case study reviewed instances where science was presented to students across grade levels as news stories creating a different engagement with the subject.

The main problem this case study aims to address is that students are seldom given the opportunity to explore science as it relates to areas of personal interest. It sheds light on a problem within the education system where students are talked at with data encouraging little engagement. Students were assigned reporting scientific issues as news stories combining disciplines providing creative freedom. By using news stories as boundary objects and intersecting worlds it enhanced student’s critical thinking when it comes to science. The case study examined three main areas as these assignments were present: action pertaining to a scientific event, interests and openness to a stance, and how it affects their identification. Information retention fifteen years after high school graduation is the goal, and five criteria on what makes a scientifically literate person were developed.

The criteria for what make a scientifically literate person are:

  • Understanding the relevance of STEM to their lives
  • Recognize credible STEM sources especially from the internet
  • Use multiple sources and add to the critique they provide
  • Consider social impact when learning new STEM information
  • Make sense of relay information in the STEM field to others

Across the five case studies the author’s found that asking students to report on science as news stories helped some students use their areas of interest that they previously couldn’t apply to science, as well as helped shape identity through their research and their work.

This case study relates to my project because the literacy aspect of the topic is twofold: while adults using social media are the main target being told to wise up, how we can use strategies to ensure the next generation is scientifically literate is of equal importance. I stumbled across this study by accident and I’m glad I did. In my undergrad at Temple I took Geology vs Hollywood as my science class. It was the least sciency science I had ever taken.  By my own admission I’m not good with practical science, I’d probably still fail basic chemistry, and I’m way too squeamish to ever dissect anything, so this looked like a good choice for my science gen ed. We didn’t have a final, but instead a final project. Professor Gagliano realized that we all were from different majors and there because we had to be, so we had a very vague project description: take something you learned here and present it in the frame of your major. I made a travel magazine about hurricanes and had a lot of fun doing it. You know what I can still talk about in a literate capacity part in thanks to the opportunity to present the information that way? Hurricanes. And I took that class at 26, so there is hope for adults too (well adult nontraditional students). Encouraging creative freedom to encourage information retention and critical thinking is a valuable strategy to ensure that the next generation coming out of school is scientifically literate, and I want to address that in my film as well.

As far as my project goes I’m still sending out emails looking for subjects, and after last class I’m trying to design a flyer that I can send out via email with some haste. I’m also piecing together some of my found footage to make a trailer to send to potential subjects as well. A friend from work is reaching out to her climatology and marine biology professors to see if they would like to be interviewed and I posted in the March for Science group on Facebook and found that the STEM professionals in there have been very helpful. Even if I only get one connection from the group I’ll still call that a win. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to shelve the production aspect for a couple days to get my annotated bibliography completed, but it will be back to business on Thursday. So other than trying to create new materials to send to potential subjects I’m still on a decent pace. Hopefully when we check back next week I will have at least one more committed subject, that’s my goal.

Applicable study and progress report

My article of focus this week is “Media-Savvy Scientific Literacy: Developing Critical Evaluation Skills by Investigating Scientific Claims.” This article is an overview of a study done among students fulfilling science gen ed requirements involving project-based applied learning to become familiar with being critical with sources.

In the study students were given the freedom to pick their own topic and create a compelling graphic supported by data to prove their point. The results of the project weren’t as important as the process of assembling the graphic and finding support. In this project students took time out of class to present their research findings to the class and take questions. These sessions served as an in-person peer review for the students, making them question the validity of their sources they used in support of their claims. At the end of the project along with their graphics, students felt that the process helped them think about what sources they believed and how to be more critical of what they read. They found that project-based applied learning not only gave them creative freedom than normally granted with gen ed science requirements, but felt they had the tools to be scientifically literate by the end of the class.

This article directly relates to my project because it addresses scientific literacy in the classroom and as it applies to every day life. It also provides a fresh approach to how gen ed science requirements can teach life skills when students normally show up to these classes to just pass and make it through the semester. Learning how to vet sources is a main point in the literacy aspect of my project, and this study addresses the need for that knowledge to spread. Holding the in-person peer review sessions also helped the students learn the importance of peer review and to keep a look out for it when looking for their own sources. This approach was successful in its mission to help students be more critical of their sources and considering that is one of my goals in my project this study has been helpful to me.

As far as my project goes I secured my first interview with Kathy Orr, so I’m hoping that now that I’m over that hump more will follow. I also am going to make a trailer with my found footage and record something into audacity to lay over it to send out to potential subjects. I have my master list of interview questions done, it’s just a matter of getting the people to ask the questions. Other than that, I’m still pretty on course with my topic and direction.


Peggy Brickman, Cara Gormally, Greg Francom, Sarah E. Jardeleza, Virginia G.W. Schutte, Carly Jordan, & Lisa Kanizay. (2012). Media-Savvy Scientific Literacy: Developing Critical Evaluation Skills by Investigating Scientific Claims. The American Biology Teacher, 74(6), 374-379. doi:10.1525/abt.2012.74.6.4

New Source and Progress Report

This week for my blog post I’ll be highlighting my source Place, proximity, and perceived harm: extreme weather events and views about climate change by Chad Zanocco, Hilary Boudet, Roberta Nilson, Hannah Satein, Hannah Whitley, June Flora from Climate Change, Volume 149 Issue 3-4 from August 2018. This article examines public perception of climate change through four case studies. Two of the case studies are in areas affected by tornadoes and two affected by wildfires. The study analyzed all four cases in terms of community and personal harm, and proximity. They found that when respondents said they felt personal harm due to the weather they became more concerned about global warming but did not think that global warming made the weather worse. When respondents felt that they experienced community harm they were not more concerned with global warming in general but felt that global warming made the weather more severe.

This reading fits into my project because it examines public attitudes based on their own personal experiences. How people understand the news they are given specifically pertaining to climate change is related to my project as I am critiquing the public’s literacy on the subject. This study is helpful in that it demonstrates motivational factors for people’s understanding of climate change and willingness for knowledge on the subject. The recent publication also helps my research stay timely. Having recent quantifiable data will help me understand what motivates people to care about climate change and will help in my story telling and stir interest up regardless of personal experience or proximity.

As I said last week I am ready to move on from mining found footage for now and schedule interviews. This past week I’ve made some phone calls and sent out some Twitter messages in hopes subjects will engage. If I must resort to more annoying measures I’m more than prepared for that, I can be quite persistent. I’m also thinking about what b roll I can shoot myself and what I will have to harvest. As I said Wednesday I’m worried about how many subjects I may get, but I just must keep the faith and hope that if someone slams a door in my face it leads me to getting someone who is better on camera and for my message. Once I start getting interviews in the can based on what my subjects give me in terms of verbal pearls I’ll have a better idea of what I want the script to say and how to say it.