During the years we have been carrying non curricular education activities of knowledge transfer to secondary and baccalaureate students, we wonder whether our efforts reached participants and they learnt the objectives we had previously established. In this proposal we present the evaluation results of three activities treasure hunt-type and the comparison amongst them: 'Build the Double Helix', 'Discover the Ocean' and 'Forest Game'.

All of them were organized by the 'Biology and Society' and 'Education' sections of the Catalan Biological Society, and other science research centres in Barcelona. 'Discover the ocean' was organized with Institut de Ciències del Mar-CSIC, and the 'Forest Game' with CREAF (Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications). The evaluation study was mainly carried by researchers from Ciència en Societat, and also with researchers from Institut de Ciències del Mar, Catalan Biological Society and Universitat Pompeu Fabra .

The treasure hunt game 'Build the Double Helix' was prepared for the Catalan Science Week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its discovery. During the activity, the 14th November 2003, almost 1.000 students visited 18 research centres in total; they split in small groups, and each smaller group visited three of the centres. There, the students had to pass one question related to DNA. When the question was passed, they were given a piece of a DNA model. When the circuit ended, they went to a public space in Barcelona (in front of the Cathedral) and a 40m DNA structure was built.

The activity 'Discover the Ocean' took place on 15th April 2005; had a similar structure, but the Centres the participants visited and the questions they had to answer were related to Marine Sciences. The almost 800 students who participated were given a small bottle of water to generate a Marine Conveyor Belt at Barcelona Beach. We wanted them to understand Marine Biology and Dynamics, and that there are not borders in the Ocean.

The activity 'Forest Game' took place in seven sessions in total, in October 2006 and November 2007. During the activity, almost 550 students went to the experimental plots of land CREAF has 70km from Barcelona to study how climate change can affect Mediterranean forest. We wanted the students to learn that Forest landscapes do change, that changes can be measured and that measures can help scientists to make predictions. In the three occasions we asked the participants to fill two questionnaires. The first one asked them to explain their satisfaction with the dynamics and the contents of the activity itself and was filled after the event. The second one was a knowledge test about genetics, marine sciences and forestry studies respectively, to see whether the learned what we had planned. The same test was filled before and after the activity in order to see what they knew previously, what they learned and what participants could unlearn during the activity.

According to surveys done after the activities, we can conclude that they satisfied the participants differently. The treasure game related to DNA was slightly better assessed than the related to Oceans, probably due to different reasons. On the one hand, the subject in 'Build the Double Helix' was more concise; and, on the other, the weather conditions when 'Discover the Ocean' took place were a bit unpleasant.

Concerning whether they learned what our purpose while preparing the activity objectives were, we discovered differences that are now being studied. In ‘Discover the Ocean’ we also asked them also to draw a scientist before and after the activity. We could see that the image of the scientist changed after seeing scientists: some white coats disappeared and more young women appeared. The preliminary results of just one of the activities, 'Discover the Double Helix', was presented at a poster session at PCST 8 in Barcelona, June 2004.

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Did it work?
Evaluation studies in non curricular educational activities

Maria Junyent   CieÌ€ncia en Societat, Fundació

Elisabetta Broglio   Institut de CieÌ€ncies del Mar-CSIC

Aurea Navarro-Sabate   Catalan Biological Society

Frederic Udina   Pompeu Fabra University

During the years we have been carrying non curricular education activities of knowledge transfer to secondary and baccalaureate students, we wonder whether our efforts reached participants and they learnt the objectives we had previously established. In this proposal we present the evaluation results of three activities treasure hunt-type and the comparison amongst them: 'Build the Double Helix', 'Discover the Ocean' and 'Forest Game'.

All of them were organized by the 'Biology and Society' and 'Education' sections of the Catalan Biological Society, and other science research centres in Barcelona. 'Discover the ocean' was organized with Institut de Ciències del Mar-CSIC, and the 'Forest Game' with CREAF (Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications). The evaluation study was mainly carried by researchers from Ciència en Societat, and also with researchers from Institut de Ciències del Mar, Catalan Biological Society and Universitat Pompeu Fabra .

The treasure hunt game 'Build the Double Helix' was prepared for the Catalan Science Week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its discovery. During the activity, the 14th November 2003, almost 1.000 students visited 18 research centres in total; they split in small groups, and each smaller group visited three of the centres. There, the students had to pass one question related to DNA. When the question was passed, they were given a piece of a DNA model. When the circuit ended, they went to a public space in Barcelona (in front of the Cathedral) and a 40m DNA structure was built.

The activity 'Discover the Ocean' took place on 15th April 2005; had a similar structure, but the Centres the participants visited and the questions they had to answer were related to Marine Sciences. The almost 800 students who participated were given a small bottle of water to generate a Marine Conveyor Belt at Barcelona Beach. We wanted them to understand Marine Biology and Dynamics, and that there are not borders in the Ocean.

The activity 'Forest Game' took place in seven sessions in total, in October 2006 and November 2007. During the activity, almost 550 students went to the experimental plots of land CREAF has 70km from Barcelona to study how climate change can affect Mediterranean forest. We wanted the students to learn that Forest landscapes do change, that changes can be measured and that measures can help scientists to make predictions. In the three occasions we asked the participants to fill two questionnaires. The first one asked them to explain their satisfaction with the dynamics and the contents of the activity itself and was filled after the event. The second one was a knowledge test about genetics, marine sciences and forestry studies respectively, to see whether the learned what we had planned. The same test was filled before and after the activity in order to see what they knew previously, what they learned and what participants could unlearn during the activity.

According to surveys done after the activities, we can conclude that they satisfied the participants differently. The treasure game related to DNA was slightly better assessed than the related to Oceans, probably due to different reasons. On the one hand, the subject in 'Build the Double Helix' was more concise; and, on the other, the weather conditions when 'Discover the Ocean' took place were a bit unpleasant.

Concerning whether they learned what our purpose while preparing the activity objectives were, we discovered differences that are now being studied. In ‘Discover the Ocean’ we also asked them also to draw a scientist before and after the activity. We could see that the image of the scientist changed after seeing scientists: some white coats disappeared and more young women appeared. The preliminary results of just one of the activities, 'Discover the Double Helix', was presented at a poster session at PCST 8 in Barcelona, June 2004.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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