Pathways: Emotion and Thinking in Designed Informal Science Environments
This Pathways project focuses on research that explores diverse family visitors' engagement with and thinking about science as they experience exhibits at the Museum of Science, Boston. The research team will work closely with museum staff on the implementation of three studies during which they will systematically investigate the arc of visitors' engagement (cognitive, emotional, and physical) as the visitors experience a range of exhibits. The team will also describe how visitors' engagement relates to their thinking about science concepts. The project team uses a mix of data collection and analysis methods, including self-report measures and physiological data along with the tracking of visitor behavior to understand and articulate engagement, along with information on learners' thinking about scientific concepts and demographic information. This project will advance the ISE field by offering findings about engagement that account for the applied and complex nature of the museum setting. The research team will be able to help the ISE field move forward in terms of building theoretical understanding about engagement and offering potential lines of inquiry for future research. The results can also be used to inform exhibit and programmatic design as well as how family learning in museums is evaluated.