How Do Children Engage with STEM Museum Exhibits? Results from a Large Observational Study

Monday, May 6, 2019
Resource Type:
Blog Post | Reference Materials
Environment Type: 
Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Women and Girls

Recently, Dancstep undertook a comprehensive study of exhibits in order to identify designs that most successfully engage girls aged 8-13 years (without turning away boys). That project, called Exhibit Designs for Girls’ Engagement (EDGE), explored nearly 60 exhibit design attributes and found nine that consistently and significantly corresponded with positive engagement for girls in science museums (Dancstep & Sindorf, 2016, 2018).

After completing the study, we reanalyzed the engagement information for both girls and boys, averaged over 301 exhibits across three institutions. Our goal was to determine baseline levels for four aspects of engagement: exhibit use, time spent, exhibit returns, and engagement behavior. Here, we briefly describe the results of our reanalysis. Our hope is that these baseline results will act as a reliable benchmark for researchers and practitioners evaluating new exhibit designs.

This is a Knowledge Base article, designed to streamline access to and share evidence about informal STEM learning. Knowledge Base articles are evidence-supported claims about what is new and emerging in the field that you can reference when you develop a proposal or "make the case" for a strategy or approach to funders and stakeholders.

Funding Program: 
Award Number: 

Team Members

Josh GutwillAuthor

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