Chapter one introduces the idea of intrinsic motivation, which we focus on throughout the book. Intrinsic motivation refers to pursuing goals like learning science because science is psychologically important to the person and is generally associated with higher achievement and persistence.Teachers are keenly aware of the importance of student motivation in learning science but teachers have not necessarily had access to detailed information about student motivation.

In the introductory chapter, we describe the Science in the Moment Project (SciMo), a study of 12 science teachers and their students over the course of a school year. We videotaped and coded what was happening in the classrooms and students completed reports of their motivation when they were “beeped” with pagers on a random schedule; those data taught us a lot about high school students motivation in science. We also discovered that boys and girls experienced science class differently and we describe those differences. The preface of the book describes the content and structure of the book and explains that resources will be provided for teachers to use in understanding and promoting student motivation and in partnering with students’ parents.

Resources pertaining to this chapter can be found by clicking on the links shown at right.