aligns tightly with our Strands 2 through 5. We have added two additional strands—Strands 1 and 6—which are of special value in informal learning environments. The six strands illustrate how schools and informal environments can pursue complementary goals and serve as a conceptual tool for organizing and assessing science learning. The six interrelated aspects of science learning covered by the strands reflect the field’s commitment to participation—in fact, they describe what participants do cognitively, socially, developmentally, and emotionally in these settings.

Learners in informal environments:


Strand 1: Experience excitement, interest, and motivation to learn about phenomena in the natural and physical world.


Strand 2: Come to generate, understand, remember, and use concepts, explanations, arguments, models, and facts related to science.


Strand 3: Manipulate, test, explore, predict, question, observe, and make sense of the natural and physical world.


Strand 4: Reflect on science as a way of knowing; on processes, concepts, and institutions of science; and on their own process of learning about phenomena.


Strand 5: Participate in scientific activities and learning practices with others, using scientific language and tools.


Strand 6: Think about themselves as science learners and develop an identity as someone who knows about, uses, and sometimes contributes to science.

The strands are distinct from, but overlap with, the science-specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, and dispositions that are ideally developed in schools. Two strands, 1 and 6, are particularly relevant to informal learning environments. Strand 1 focuses on generating excitement, interest, and motivation—a foundation for other forms of science learning. Strand 1, while important for learning in any setting, is particularly relevant to informal learning environments, which are rich with everyday science phenomena and organized to tap prior experience and interest. Strand 6 addresses how learners view themselves with respect to science. This strand speaks to the process by which individuals become comfortable with, knowledgeable about, or interested in science. Informal learning environments can play a special role in stimulating and building on initial interest, supporting science



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