Based on the summative evaluation of LabVenture!,13 much of the learning that took place was in the development of inquiry skills (Strand 3). Based on responses from an online survey, about 74 percent of the students in the research sample said they learned about conducting scientific investigations by observing, forming hypotheses, collecting evidence, and analyzing their results.
The second area of learning mentioned most frequently by the students was working as part of a research team (55 percent). In addition, about 50 percent of the students said that they had the opportunity to figure out how to use scientific tools. Both of these learning gains correspond to Strand 5.
The students also noted that their visit to GMRI piqued their interest in marine science. Nearly half (47 percent) wanted to understand more about the Gulf of Maine watershed, and more than one-third expressed new interest in local freshwater resources.
But equally important, the kids experience learning as enjoyable and satisfying. “I learned how much fun oceanography can be,” one student says. Another mentioned learning about the different types of tools scientists use. And one student expressed his opinion succinctly: “I learned a lot of cool stuff that I didn’t know.”
From the teachers’ vantage point, the experience at GMRI reinforced the fifth- and sixth-grade science curriculum, which includes the study of weather, environmental sciences, ecology, watersheds, and estuaries. Also stressed in these grades is the development of scientific inquiry skills. In the view of many of the
“Based on responses from an online survey, about 74 percent of the students in the research sample said they learned about conducting scientific investigations by observing, forming hypotheses, collecting evidence, and analyzing their results.”