Ruff Family Science Prototype Development and Formative Research Report
Ruff Family Science is a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that aims to foster joint media engagement and hands-on science exploration among diverse, low-income parents and their 4- to 8-year-old children. Building on the success of the PBS series FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, the project leverages FETCH’s funny and charismatic animated host, along with its proven approach to teaching science, to inspire educationally disadvantaged families to explore science together. The project is utilizing a research and design process to create resources 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. In doing so, the project’s ultimate aim is to build new knowledge about the potential for digital media to inspire and support intergenerational science learning among vulnerable families.
WGBH and Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) are collaborating on three phases of research and development: a Needs Assessment Phase, a Prototype Development Phase, and a Prototype Testing Phase. This report summarizes the findings from the Prototype Development Phase, which seeks to investigate the extent to which new prototype resources meet the priorities and needs of families and educators involved in intergenerational education settings, while identifying successful engagement strategies and areas for improvement.