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Family visits to a science museum

MSHE member Dr Neta Shaby and colleagues recently published their article “Parental Instructional Strategies During Family Visit to An Agricultural Exhibition at A Science Museum” on family visits to a science museum.

The aim of this qualitative study was to examine how parents use exhibits’ features during a family visit to a science museum. We observed 44 families during 9 hours and 45 minutes at the “Fields of Tomorrow” exhibition hall. The analysis showed that parents used the physical environment as a resource to engage children with science, taking on the role of “experts” and instructing the novice children. The analysis revealed that parents mainly used four instructional strategies while engaging with the exhibits: 1) connection to everyday life; 2) observation; 3) asking questions; and 4) reading, interpreting, and naming. We also found that parents took advantage of the signs near the exhibits to facilitate their instruction, and their scientific interpretations rarely related to the exhibit’s goals. This study highlights the need for better mediational means at science museums to support visitor engagement.

Shaby, N., Ben Zvi Assaraf, O., & Levy, N. (2022). Parental instructional strategies during family visit to an agricultural exhibition at a science museum. Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education18(2).

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