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.
1. Motivation for Science
Basic information on Motivation for Science during high school.
The Science in the Moment Project: Detailed information about the “SciMo Project”, from which we learned a lot about students’ motivation in high school science classrooms can be found on the website, as can papers, publications, and reports that were produced from that study.
Further Reading about motivation to learn science:
Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., & Beechum, N. O. (2012). Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners: The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance. Chicago: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. A comprehensive review of motivational and other non-cognitive factors related to academic success.
Koballa, T. R., & Glynn, S. M. (2007). Attitudinal and motivational constructs in science learning. Handbook of research on science education, 75-102.
2. Broadening Participation in Science
National Alliance for Partnership in Equity: STEM. NAPE has developed projects, tools, strategies, and resources to increase the number of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in the STEM career pipeline.
Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Downloadable report from American Association of University Women project describing inhibitors to the success of women in STEM fields.
Academic Grades and Motivation in High School Science Classrooms Among Male and Female Students: Associations with Teachers’ Characteristics, Beliefs, and Practices, the chapter by Schmidt and Shumow describes what we learned about gender differences by observing high school science classes and interviewing the teachers.
Encouraging Girls in Math and Science is a downloadable practical guide that offers suggestions on helping girls succeed and persist in science. It was written for by Halpern, D, Aronson, J., Reimer, N. Simpkins, S., Star, J. & Wentzel, K., (2007).
There is a Doing What Works webpage with more materials and links supporting the ideas presented in the guide.
Thought Activity is a worksheet for identifying how students are alike and how they are different and is available as a downloadable pdf.
3. Parent Involvement in Science
We recommend engaging parents in their child’s science learning because our analyses showed that parent involvement mattered. To learn more about the findings, read Predictors and Outcomes of Parental Involvement with High School Students in Science, the paper by Shumow, Lyutyh, & Schmidt published in the School Community Journal.
4. Videos for Introduction
Links to videos about concepts and strategies described in this chapter are found on this page. To learn more about the scientists and teachers featured in these videos, click here where you can read a description and/or select a link to find all video clips of them.
Regina shares how she overcame doubts about entering the physics field that were caused by an older male professor who told her women should not do physics.
Georgia talks about how her teacher’s belief in her enlisted parental support for a science career and gave her confidence in her chosen field.
Laura discusses the benefits of her science teacher’s habit of holding boys and girls to equally high standards in the classroom.
Teachers and Classrooms
Greg fosters intrinsic motivation and engagement by embedding the vermaculture project in the curriculum throughout the school year to meet various learning standards.
Kelda believes strongly that engaging parents has a huge pay off and consequently communicates with them in a way that promotes student learning.
Mike thinks that schools need parents as academic boosters so he involves them in what students are learning.
When parents are engaged in actual learning activities they have the opportunity to understand and appreciate their children’s teachers.