Impacting university physics students through participation in informal science Documents

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Impacting university physics students through participation in informal science 

written by Kathleen Hinko and Noah D. Finkelstein

Informal education programs organized by university physics departments are a popular means of reaching out to communities and satisfying grant requirements. The outcomes of these programs are often described in terms of broader impacts on the community. Comparatively little attention, however, has been paid to the influence of such programs on those students facilitating the informal science programs. Through Partnerships for Informal Science Education in the Community (PISEC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, undergraduate and graduate physics students coach elementary and middle school children during an inquiry-based science after school program. As part of their participation in PISEC, university students complete preparation in pedagogy, communication and diversity, engage with children on a weekly basis and provide regular feedback about the program. We present findings that indicate these experiences improve the ability of university students to communicate in everyday language and positively influence their perspectives on teaching and learning.

Published January 24, 2013
Last Modified June 26, 2013