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GIVE: Group Inquiry by Visitors at Exhibits

 
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Results

Evidence the program helped groups learn inquiry skills

Our results suggest that these games helped families and field trip groups bring more inquiry skills to their investigation of a new exhibit, in several ways:
  • More coherent investigations. Families and field trip groups who’d learned one of the inquiry games did more “linked” investigations than those who hadn’t been taught the games. In other words, their questions built on each other to create a line of investigation, rather than being lots of unrelated questions. (Families: F1,196 = 6.1, p<.05; Field Trips: F1,180 = 2.2, p<.07, t90 = 2.2, p<.05).

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  • More interpretations of the results of their investigations. Families and field trip groups who’d learned one of the inquiry games interpreted their results more often than those who hadn’t been taught the games. (Families: F1,196 = 10.5, p<.01; Field Trips: t90 = 2.8, p<.05). In particular, groups who had learned to play “Juicy Question” interpreted their results most often. (Families in Juicy Question spent more time at the exhibit than other families, but they also made more interpretations per minute (F1,196 = 8.8, p<.01)).

Click on diagram to enlarge:

  • More collaborative explanations. Families and field trip groups who’d learned one of the inquiry games made more “consecutive interpretations” than those who hadn’t been taught the games – meaning group members made interpretations in a back-and-forth conversational way, rather than making interpretations in isolation (Families: F1,196 = 4.3, p<.05; Field Trips: F1,180 = 2.9, p<.05).  This suggests they were trying to make meaning of their results together, in collaboration.  In particular, families who had learned to play “Juicy Question” made a larger fraction of their interpretations in a consecutive, collaborative manner (t98 = 2.9, p < .01).

Click on diagram to enlarge:

 

Implications

Many groups enjoy and appreciate going deeper with exhibits

  • Families and field trip groups can learn to use two inquiry skills at new exhibits, even in the space of only 20-30 minutes.
  • Inquiry skills can be applied in many situations.
  • Some families, students and chaperones spontaneously use such skills in exhibits and even their lives beyond the museum.
  • Most participants felt that such programs should be offered in museums, while some raised limitations and challenges of going beyond the lab setting.
 
 
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