ERIC Number: ED431610
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Is That Really Science? A Look at the Science Practice of an Inner-City Youth Gardening Program.
Children have ample opportunities to learn about science outside of school through visits to science museums, participation in extra-curricular science programs, and by pursuing experiments at home, yet few studies have examined what it means to do science in such places and how such ways of knowing might become integrated with, or differentiated from, school science. In an attempt to fill this gap, a qualitative case study of an inner-city youth gardening program was pursued. The purpose of this study was to delineate the meaning of science as made and conveyed through the activities and the conversations in which participants engaged, and to determine whether participants shared the program's notion of science and perceived themselves as science practitioners. Findings suggest that the program provided opportunities to gather much factual and practical science knowledge that was very context-specific. In addition, results show that participants held very rudimentary notions of science which served as a yardstick for the assessment of the program activities as scientific. Garden work was perceived as entailing science only if it could be framed in terms of conducting an experiment or as engaging in observations. Despite participants' interpretation of gardening as having little to do with "real science," this paper concludes with a discussion of how an appreciation for and awareness of the natural world--two important components of scientific literacy--could be developed through garden work. Contains 36 references. (Author/WRM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).