1. Mary Haggerty
  2. Director of First 8 Labs and Media Engagement
  3. Ruff Family Science
  4. WGBH Educational Foundation
  1. Jessica Andrews
  2. Project Director
  3. Ruff Family Science
  4. WGBH Educational Foundation
  1. Heather Lavigne
  2. http://cct.edc.org/people/lavigne-heather-0
  3. Research Scientist
  4. Ruff Family Science
  5. Education Development Center (EDC)
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 07:43 p.m.

    Thank you for visiting our Ruff Family Science video. This project explores strategies that foster joint media engagement and hands-on science exploration among families with young children with a parent enrolled in an adult education program, addressing parents as both adult learners and as caregivers who can nurture their children’s development in science.  Many of the parents we work with are English language learners. We are particularly interested in discussing the following:

    • Many of the programs we work with serve a large percentage of immigrant/refugee families who speak many different languages. How can we best create materials that work for these families to engage in science learning, and still support English language learning?
    • Many of the adult and family educators we work with have limited experience teaching science. What types of professional development resources should we develop to help increase educators’ confidence and skills in engaging families in hands-on science exploration?

     

  • May 13, 2019 | 11:12 a.m.

    I love the concept of integrating adult learning with children's learning. Do you know whether the parents continue to do science learning activities with their children after having this shared experience?

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Noah Feinstein
  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 11:35 a.m.

    Hi Julia: Thanks for your question. The research report is still being finalized, but what we know from preliminary findings is that many caregivers responded favorably to the “Explore More at Home” materials that were intended for use at home. They reported that they extended their children’s engagement in science exploration at home by integrating science lessons into their daily live by talking about science while driving, shopping, cooking, and during bath time. Some caregivers, however, did not continue exploring science at home with their children. The most common obstacle to at-home engagement cited by caregivers was lack of time.

    Two questions we continue to discuss are:

    • Was the exposure to hands-on science exploration in the adult learning or family-facilitated sessions adequate to prepare caregivers to conduct these activities at home with their children? 
    • What types of additional supports and scaffolds, including digital ones, can increase the likelihood that caregivers will engage in science exploration at home with their children?

    Over the coming months, we plan to continue to further explore how we can increase the likelihood that caregivers will choose to engage in family science exploration at home.

    Regards, 

    Mary

     

  • Icon for: Rabiah Mayas

    Rabiah Mayas

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 04:18 p.m.

    I'm excited at how this collaboration leverages a fan favorite show with hands-on investigation for families! I appreciate your discussion prompts above and have a question related to the first one you posed.

    Are there opportunities for adult program participants - upon completion of the adult education program cycle - to participate as co-developers of future materials? This could perhaps support the language and cultural specificity you seek while also building a pathway for parents to level up their own teaching and learning abilities and serve as ambassadors for the program?

  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 02:23 p.m.

    Hi Rabiah: Thank you for your question. In developing the resources for Ruff Family Science, we employed an iterative development approach that allowed us to gather and incorporate feedback from adult learners as well as adult and family educators. We believe that their input helped us to create more relevant, impactful resources. Your suggestion of involving the adult learners as co-developers takes our approach one step further. We are anxious to find meaningful roles for adult learners/parents and agree that involving end users as co-developers holds great promise.

    Regards

    Mary

     

  • Icon for: Noah Feinstein

    Noah Feinstein

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 10:32 p.m.

    I'm really glad to know about this project! It connects so well with some of the challenges that I've seen in museum research and practice - in particular, creating learning situations that enable adults to get past the sense of intimidation that comes from feeling like they need to know the answers, rather than being present as learners themselves. I'd love to know if you encountered this particular challenge, and what you've learned about how to help parents balance the two roles you describe (learners/nurturers of their kids' learning). 

    Like Julie (above), I'm also interested in how these experiences extend beyond families' use of the media. Although you start by talking about how useful science is in daily life, a lot of the activities that you highlight don't seem to be directed at the ways people encounter science outside of "science learning experiences." Do you have any evidence that parents and kids are able to extend what they learn in these science-defined experience to other experiences that are not so obviously marked out for them in those terms? 

  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 12:16 p.m.

    Hi Noah: Thanks for your questions. We, too, understand the need to provide safe spaces for adult learners where they can explore new topics, ask questions in a risk-free environment, and gain exposure to science content and practices. Our solution was to create an implementation model that featured adult-only sessions where parents worked collaboratively with their peers to explore a science topic, learn new vocabulary and engage in “science talk,” make predictions, collect data, and reflect on the experience. In testing, participants reported that the specific act of using the materials in the adult-only setting helped them be aware of the content before leading the activity for their child.

    Balancing caregivers’ dual roles—that of parent and adult learner—was also of particular interest to us. We intentionally selected implementation partners that already address these dual roles in their programming, e.g., National Center for Families Learning, Boston Public Schools Adult and Family Learning program, etc. We learned a tremendous amount about this audience but recognize that we just scratched the surface. We remain committed to further exploration in this area.

    I address your question about whether parents continue the science learning at home in the exchange above, but let me know if you have additional questions.

    Regards,

    Mary

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Noah Feinstein
  • Icon for: Jan Heiderer

    Jan Heiderer

    Communications Coordinator, GLOBE Implementation Office
    May 14, 2019 | 01:33 a.m.

    Nurturing an interest in science for 4 - 8 year olds and their parents. What a great project! I really liked video. Nice work on this!

  • Icon for: Jan Heiderer

    Jan Heiderer

    Communications Coordinator, GLOBE Implementation Office
    May 14, 2019 | 01:39 a.m.

    I should add that The GLOBE Program at www.globe.gov provides freely downloadable books and activities in the fundamentals of Earth system science for this age group. Anyone can access Elementary GLOBE at https://www.globe.gov/web/elementary-globe

    Might be a good resource for you!

  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 08:46 a.m.

    Thank you, Jan! I took a quick look at the Globe.gov site and the materials look intriguing. I especially like the integration of storybooks into the science exploration. Great for learners of all ages. 

    Regards,

     

    Mary

  • Icon for: Anne Kern

    Anne Kern

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 03:48 p.m.

    Any science program that encourages family engagement-collaboration is a WIN!

    I have some more pragmatic questions through:

    • How do you recruit family participants?
    • What is the retention of these families like?
    • Do you find that besides "encouraging" student learning in STEM, do you find that you need to teaching the STEM concepts to the adults too?
    • If so, how do you manage this? Separate groups for instruction or all at once?
    • When do participants meet and how often do they meet? Are you getting 100% or close to it attendance?
    • Do you offer incentives for family participants besides the program?

    Thanks!

     

     

  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 04:25 p.m.

    Hi Anne: Thanks for your questions. The families and educators that worked with us were recruited by our partners the National Center for Families Learning, Kentucky Educational Television, and Alabama Public Television.  Since Ruff Family Science was funded as an exploratory project, our focus was on conducting multiple rounds of iterative testing. With a future grant we would focus on dissemination and retention strategies. At the outset, we knew that caregivers would benefit from an introduction to the science concepts themselves, so one of the implementation strategies we tested was introducing Ruff Family Science in caregiver only classes, which worked well. It gave them a safe space to explore science, building their content and process skills among peers. Families and educators were compensated for their participation in the research study.

    Regards,

    Mary

  • May 17, 2019 | 08:05 a.m.

    What an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap across all levels of learning.   Great Program! This is a great program.   I can see this being a great way to implement great science resources to elementary teachers.   how do you disseminate your curriculum?  Is it solely web-based?  I have been collaborating with an elementary school and I am learning that these teachers lack the resources and training.   How do you address this?   

  • Icon for: Mary Haggerty

    Mary Haggerty

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:19 p.m.

    Hi Rebecca: Thank you for your comments and questions. Ruff Family Science uses a research and design process to create an implementation model and prototype resources (digital media, hands-on activities, and supports for educators) that meet the needs of families with a parent enrolled in an adult education program, addressing parents as both adult learners and as caregivers who can nurture their children’s development in science.

    We received an exploratory grant from NSF to do this work, so we will not be doing any large-scale dissemination just yet. The resources were made available to the research participants via a temporary website where they could download the teachers’ guides and hands-on activities. Study participants accessed the videos and the game on this temporary site as well. If we receive additional funding, we plan to build out a larger suite of resources that will be available for national dissemination, likely via a website, but we are also thinking about curating the resources within an app. Happy to keep you updated. And, glad to hear you see an audience for these resources! 

    Regards,

    Mary  

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.