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ABSTRACT

Understanding the features of science learning experiences that organize and motivate children at early ages can help educators and researchers find ways to ignite interest to support future passion and learning in the sciences at a time when children's motivation is declining. Using a sample of 252 fifth- and sixth-grade students, we systematically explore differences in children's motivations toward science experiences across context (formal, informal, neutral), manner of interaction (consuming new knowledge, analyzing, action), and topic (e.g., biology, earth science, physics). Motivations toward science were most influenced by topic. Responses were generally consistent across context and manner of interaction. Implications for science education, as well as measurement and assessment methodology, are discussed.