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Children visiting science museums with their families: an analysis of the scientific literacy process

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Graziele Aparecida de Moraes Scalfi
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Educação (FE/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Martha Marandino; Alessandra Fernandes Bizerra; Maria Cristina Monteiro Pereira de Carvalho; Sílvia Fernanda de Mendonça Figueirôa; Leonir Lorenzetti
Advisor: Martha Marandino

Science museums offer a privileged perspective to study children\'s conversations since they enable accurate records of the ways children and family members interact during visits. Although little is known about how children develop scientific literacy (SL) in non-formal education environments, studies on museums suggest that children\'s conversations among themselves and with family members can reflect and change their understanding of science. Drawing from this context, this study analyzed how the scientific literacy process is expressed in the dialogues of children aged seven to eleven years during family visits to two Brazilian science museums: the Microbiology Museum, that belongs to the Butantan Institute (IBu) and the Science and Technology Museum at PUCRS (Pontifical Catholic University in the state of Rio Grande do Sul). This research relies on a qualitative approach, and its data collection instruments included observation, filming, a sociocultural questionnaire, and interviews. To guide us throughout the work, we used the scientific literacy theoretical-methodological tool proposed by Marandino et al (2018), comprised of four indicators Science, Social Interface, Institution, and Interaction and their attributes, followed by content analysis. Results show that all indicators were identified; both the Science and the Interaction indicators were the most observed, followed by the Social Interface and Institution indicators. Thus, the scientific literacy process is present in the dialogues of children with their families and science museums are spaces that could potentially enhance this process. However, the attributes within each indicator occurred unevenly, in different quantities. We noticed the absence of dialogues mentioning ongoing research, or that cited research funding institutions. A small number of dialogues referred to researchers actively involved in scientific endeavors, conceived science as a human process or alluded to scientific controversies. The strong presence of both the Science and the Interaction indicators shows that the visiting experience needs to offer more than an opportunity to learn only scientific facts: it should also explain how science is produced, shared and financed. A better understanding of how science is embedded in society, including its moral and ethical aspects, can contribute to a higher engagement of children in understanding, discussing and making decisions regarding science-related topics. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/20963-6 - Children visiting science museums with their families: an analysis of the scientific literacy process
Grantee:Graziele Aparecida de Moraes Scalfi
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate