on its potential to support a broad range of science-specific learning outcomes and intersect with related institutional players and broader societal interests. Here we introduce, and in Chapter 3 we expand upon, six interweaving strands that describe goals and practices of science learning (see Box 2-2). It is important to note that while these strands reflect conceptualizations developed in research, as a set they have not been systematically applied and analyzed. The strands are interdependent—advances in one are closely associated with advances in the others. Taken together they represent the ideal that all institutions that create and provide informal environments for people to learn science can strive for in their programs and facilities.

Strand 1:
Developing Interest in Science

Strand 1 addresses motivation to learn science, emotional engagement with it, curiosity, and willingness to persevere over time despite encountering challenging scientific ideas and procedures over time. Research suggests that personal interest and enthusiasm are important for supporting children’s

BOX 2-2

Strand of informal Science Learning

Learners who engage with science 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.



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