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Acting in Our Own Self-Interests: Blending University and Community in Informal Science Education Documents

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Acting in Our Own Self-Interests: Blending University and Community in Informal Science Education 

written by Noah D. Finkelstein and Laurel Mayhew

Research in physics education has demonstrated new tools and models for improving the understanding and engagement of traditional college students [1].  Building on this base, the research community has bridged the gap from college to pre-college education, even elementary school [2].  However, little work has been done to engage students in out-of-school settings, particularly for those students from populations under-represented in the sciences.  We present a theoretically-grounded model of university-community partnership [3] that engages university students and children in a collective enterprise that has the potential to improve the participation and education of all.  We document the impact of these programs on: university participants who learn about education, the community and even some science; children in the community who learn about science, the nature of science and develop  their identities and attitudes towards science; and, shifts in institutional practice which may allow these programs to be sustained, or not.

Published October 20, 2008
Last Modified May 21, 2009

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