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.

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