Robotics and science literacy: Thinking skills, science process skills and systems understanding

Authors

  • Florence R. Sullivan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 813 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01027
    • Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 813 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01027.
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Abstract

This paper reports the results of a study of the relationship of robotics activity to the use of science literacy skills and the development of systems understanding in middle school students. Twenty-six 11–12-year-olds (22 males and 4 females) attending an intensive robotics course offered at a summer camp for academically advanced students participated in the research. This study analyzes how students utilized thinking skills and science process skills characteristic of scientifically literate individuals to solve a robotics challenge. In addition, a pre/post test revealed that course participants increased their systems understanding, t (21) = 22.47, p < .05. It is argued that the affordances of the robotics environment coupled with a pedagogical approach emphasizing open-ended, extended inquiry prompts the utilization of science literacy-based thinking and science process skills and leads to increased systems understanding. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 373–394, 2008

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