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Suggested Citation:"7 Diversity and Equity." National Research Council. 2009. Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12190.
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209 Diversity and Equity 7 An important value of informal environments for learning science is be- ing accessible to all. Socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, historical, and systemic factors, however, all influence the types of access and opportunities these environments afford to learners (Heath, 2007). “Being born into a racial majority group with high levels of economic and social resources—or into a group that has historically been marginalized with low levels of economic and social resources—results in very different lived experiences that include unequal learning opportunities, challenges, and potential risks for learning and development” (Banks, 2007, p. 15). The challenges in engaging nondominant groups in the sciences are reflected in studies showing 1. inadequate science instruction exists in most elementary schools, especially those serving children from low-income and rural areas; 2. girls often do not identify strongly with science or science careers; 3. students from nondominant groups perform lower on standardized measures of science achievement than their peers; 4. although the number of individuals with disabilities pursuing post- secondary education has increased, few pursue academic careers in science or engineering; and 5. learning science can be especially challenging for all learners be- cause of the specialized language involved (Banks, 2007; Allen and Seumptewa, 1993; Cajete, 1993; MacIvor, 1995; Malcom and Matyas, 1991; Snively, 1995).

210 Learning Science in Informal Environments These findings suggest the barriers that exist to engaging those from nondominant groups in science. It is critical to consider diversity issues and the science learning of nondominant groups for several reasons: to ensure equitable treatment of all individuals; to continue to develop a well-trained workforce; to develop a well-informed, scientifically literate citizenry; and to increase diversity in the pool of scientists and science educators who can bring new perspectives to science and the understanding of science. Scientific discourse, teaching, and learning are not culturally neutral, although people tend to see and represent them as acultural or neutral or, in the case of science, as representing a unique culture unto itself. An important perspective on science learning in informal environments emphasizes that, although treating the construct of culture as a homogeneous categorical vari- able is problematic, people nonetheless do “live culturally” (Nasir, Rosebery, Warren, and Lee, 2006; Gutiérrez and Rogoff, 2003). From this perspective, a key object of study is the wide, varied repertoire of sense-making practices that people participate in, especially in everyday contexts. Gutiérrez and Rogoff (2003) point out that “individual development and disposition must be understood in (not separate from) cultural and historical context” (p. 22). All people engage in sophisticated learning shaped by the cultural and contextual conditions in which they live. In this sense, all people learn, but a given group may learn different knowledge and practices and may organize its learning differently. This chapter addresses diversity issues related to learning science in informal environments. Among the many dimensions of diversity, here we take a cultural-historical perspective on learning and illustrate the implications for science learning and the structuring of informal environments where science learning takes place. Before we review the research literature on the experiences of diverse populations with science and their access to it, we first define culture and equity. We then focus on science learning in four nondominant groups for which a research tradition has developed: girls and women, American In- dians, individuals from rural communities, and individuals with disabilities. In reviewing the research involving these groups, we explore such issues as engagement, identity, self-efficacy, and border crossing, which are related to diversity and science learning. We end with a set of guiding principles to develop culturally responsive and effective informal environments for science learning. CULTURE AND EQUITY Culture is a complex concept that is difficult to define succinctly. Most scholars agree, however, that culture includes the symbols, stories, rituals, tools, shared values, and norms of participation that people use to act, con- sider, communicate, assess, and understand both their daily lives and their images of the future (Brumann, 1999). Disagreements arise concerning the

Diversity and Equity 211 costs and benefits of treating culture as a noun, in which case it may lend itself to stereotyping, versus treating culture as a modifier—as in “people live culturally.” A closely related issue is how culture and cultural processes should be studied (Medin and Atran, 2004). If the study of culture is conceptualized as identifying shared norms and values, it is natural to assume that individuals become part of a culture through a process of socialization—that is, they acquire culture. If culture is instead seen as dynamic, contested, and variably distributed within and across groups, it is natural to see cultural learning as involving a reciprocal relationship between individuals’ goals, perspectives, abilities, and values and their environment (Hirschfeld, 2002). In this view, for example, in the earliest years of life, one’s socialization partially depends on agents or others who are caregivers as well as an individual’s interpretation of and reaction to their environment. Furthermore, as one grows older, associates, friends, organizations, and institutions become part of varying socialization processes, but the influence of each is dependent on an individual’s characteristics, and vice versa. Thus, socialization depends on access and opportunities, as well as the perspectives and attitudes that an individual brings to these op- portunities. From this perspective, in fact, one can see that while culture is often used in reference to ethnic or racial background, any group with some shared affiliation (e.g., people with disabilities, women), might be seen as having some shared cultural values and resources. Research on cultural variations in learning has tended to describe ethnic or racial cultural groups in a manner that is static. Although there are histori- cally rooted continuities that connect individuals across generations (Lee, 2003), describing culture in categorical terms to distinguish groups of people often leads to statements that attempt to describe the “essence” of groups. This can lead to stereotypes, such as the idea that Asian children are good at math or that girls struggle in science. Such statements treat culture as a fixed configuration of traits and assume that all group members share the same set of experiences, skills, and interests (Gutiérrez and Rogoff, 2003). Thus, they tend to obscure the heterogeneity of nondominant (and domi- nant) cultures. In addition, even when stereotypes are framed in an effort to illustrate the strength of a nondominant group or to compare groups, this reductive tendency can have negative impacts on members of a group (Steele, 1997). For example, there may be greater pressure placed on Asian children by their teachers and parents to excel in mathematics. Such statements can impact the self-esteem of children who do not excel in the manner that the statement claims. A cultural-historical perspective on how individuals and groups learn offers a way to move beyond the assumption that characteristics of cul- tural groups are homogeneous and solely located within individuals. This perspective stresses that culture is not a static set of traits but is something more dynamic and develops through an individual’s history of engagement

212 Learning Science in Informal Environments in various practices. From this perspective, culture becomes a question of situating the social practices and histories of groups and less about attribut- ing certain styles to groups. In other words, culture is “the constellations of practices historically developed and dynamically shaped by communities in order to accomplish the purposes they value” (Nasir et al., 2006). Diversity and Equity Over the past several decades, concerns about equitable access to science for nondominant groups (as well as underutilization of the nation’s human resources) have been strong motivators in the issue of science equity. To that end, equity in science education has primarily focused on defining and identifying science content standards—that is, what students are expected to learn and achieve in science classrooms (Lee, 1999). Within these standards science has typically been represented as objective, universal knowledge— and culturally neutral. Moreover, some educators have stressed science as a set of practices that define a singular “culture of science” that would-be scientists must acquire. This view assumes, implicitly or explicitly, that the culture of science does not reflect the cultural values that people bring to science. We question this assumption, which is analogous to assuming that learners of a second language naturally speak without accent, without any trace of their first language. This assumption has resulted in an approach to equity that does not adequately address systemic factors that might restrict access or hinder individuals from nondominant groups from engaging and identifying with science (Secada, 1989, 1994). Thus, science equity has often resulted in attempts to provide equal access to opportunities already available to dominant groups, without con- sideration of cultural or contextual issues. Science instruction and learning experiences in informal environments often privilege the science-related practices of middle-class whites and may fail to recognize the science- related practices associated with individuals from other groups. In informal venues for learning science, for example in museums, some initiatives are aimed at introducing new audiences to existing museum science content, such as outreach initiatives offering reduced-cost admission or bringing ex- isting science programming that is, already offered to mainstream groups, to nondominant communities. The goal of such initiatives is to enable students to become members of the science community without changing existing science systems (Good, 1993, 1995; Matthews, 1994; Williams, 1994). This view of science equity has been called the assimilationist view of science equity (Lee, 1999). The logic of this view is that particular groups have not had sufficient access to science learning experiences. So to remedy that situation, educators deliver to nondominant groups the same kinds of learning experiences that have served dominant groups. Participation and achievement in science, however, are mediated by

Diversity and Equity 213 a complex set of sociocultural and systemic factors not often recognized in such science equity efforts. Principal among these is the idea that one’s social world and context shape values, skill sets, and expectations (Nasir et al., 2006). Thus, the act of exposing all individuals to the same learning environments does not result in science equity, because the environments themselves are designed in a manner that supports the cultural repertoire of the dominant culture. Alternatively, a group of theories portrays equity in science learning as a political process (Lee, 1999, 2005). This view assumes that as students from underrepresented populations gain access to science, they learn to ap- propriate the language and discourse of science and use it to address local or personal concerns. This perspective assumes that engagement in science by underrepresented populations will lead to a politically driven shift in the nature of science to better reflect the cultural practices and concerns of those underrepresented populations, which may result in more equitable power structures (Calabrese Barton, 1997, 1998a, 1998b; Calabrese Barton and Osborne, 1998; Eisenhart, Finkel, and Marion, 1996; Howes, 1998; Keller, 1982; Mayberry, 1998; Rodriguez, 1997). Thus, this orientation is a major departure from the assimilationist view, which sees science as the central goal to be reached by students who are at the margins and assumes the practices of science will remain unchanged by their participation (Calabrese Barton, 1998a, 1998b). A third perspective on science equity stems from the cultural anthropo- logical perspective. From this perspective, equity in science learning occurs when individuals from diverse backgrounds participate in science through opportunities that account for and value alternative views and ways of know- ing in their everyday worlds (Aikenhead, 1996; Cobern and Aikenhead, 1998; Costa, 1995; Gallard et al., 1998; Maddock, 1981; Pomeroy, 1994), while also providing access to science as practiced in the established scientific com- munity. This approach centers on making science accessible, meaningful, and relevant for diverse students by connecting their home and community cultures to science. Lee (1999) likens this perspective to biliteracy or bicultural- ism, whereby an individual can successfully bridge the culture of science. Carol Lee (1993, 1995, 2001) has used this approach to design learning environments that leverage knowledge associated with everyday experiences to support subject matter learning (in her case, literacy practices). Lee’s ap- proach, termed cultural modeling, works on the assumption that students who are speakers of African American vernacular English (AAVE) already tacitly engage in complex reasoning and interpretation of literary concepts, such as tropes and genres. She engages students in metacognitive conversations in which students make explicit the evidence and reasoning they are using in their discussions. The conversations might focus, for example, on how students know that rap lyrics are not intended to be taken literally and the

214 Learning Science in Informal Environments strategies they use to interpret and reconstruct the intended meaning. These conversations reflect AAVE norms, such as multiparty talk and signifying. From this framework, cultural practices are seen as providing different perspectives. In other words, there is no cultureless or neutral perspective, no more than a photograph or painting could be without perspective. Everything is cultured (Rogoff, 2003), including the layout of designed experiences, such as museums (Bitgood, 1993; Duensing, 2006), and the practices associated with teaching science in school (Warren et al., 2001). For example, in a study of a collaborative of nine museums, Garibay, Gilmartin, and Schaefer (2002) found that participants who previously did not regularly visit museums initially needed more staff facilitation to help them better understand the learning and experiential goals of exhibits. Thus, the more one understands the role of culture and context in learning, particularly in science learning, the more effectively one can ensure that science is available to all children and adults. Learning Is a Cultural Process Working from the perspective that learning is a fundamentally cultural process (Nasir et al., 2006; Rogoff, 2003) in which conceptions of learning are historically and locally situated, science learning is viewed as a socio- cultural activity. Its practices and assumptions reflect the culture, cultural practices, and cultural values of scientists. In this section, we first describe the cultural nature of learning generally and then focus in on the specific aspects of science learning that make it a cultural activity (see Chapter 2 for related discussion). Focusing on the strengths of parents in working-class households, González, Moll, and Amanti (2005) have shown that children develop “funds of knowledge”—historically developed and accumulated strategies (skills, abilities, ideas) or bodies of knowledge that prove useful in a household, group, or community. This represents a fundamental shift in analysis and discussion of learning for nondominant groups. The traditional viewpoint often implies or even explicitly states that the cultural values and knowledge that circulate in nondominant cultural groups are deficient, not useful, or even counterproductive (Lareau, 1989, 2003; Rogoff and Chavajay, 1995). However, close analysis of parenting and childrearing practices shed new light on the productive exchanges and values in nondominant cultural groups and illustrate for researchers and educators how those can be leveraged in educational practice. Children all over the world explore their world and have conversations about causes and consequences, and the particular topics they discuss and the ways they learn to explore the world are likely to vary, depending on the cultural practices with which they grow up (Heath, 2007; Rogoff, 2003). People live in different environments across their life span, with varied

Diversity and Equity 215 exposure to activities relating to different science domains (e.g., fishing, farming, computer technology). What counts as learning and what types of knowledge are seen as “important” are closely tied to a community’s values and what is useful in that community context (Bruner, 1996; McDermott and Varenne, 2006). Everyday contexts and situations that are meaningful and important in children’s lives not only influence their repertoires of practice, but also are likely to afford the development of complex cognitive skills. This is evident in the studies of meaningful activities for individuals from various American cultures (Nasir, 2000, 2002; Nasir and Saxe, 2003; Rose, 2004). Nasir (2002) illustrated that playing basketball can be linked to an improved understand- ing of statistics and other mathematical concepts and that complex cogni- tive strategies are developed playing the game of dominoes. These studies illustrate that deep participation in such hobbies is linked to cognitive gains associated with knowledge valued by these cultures. For example, Nasir studied African American elementary school, high school, and adult dominoes tournament participants. Her findings show that players developed important general cognitive abilities, including perspective taking, numerical competence, and the ability to weigh multiple factors and goals at once. The development of these skills is intertwined with changes in the sociocultural setting of dominoes. The analysis of these data depicts the cognitive shifts that occurred among players of different age groups, the manner in which the sociocultural setting became intertwined with the cognitive shifts, and the shifting nature of the social setting. Rose’s (2004) depiction of the cognitive and physical skills developed by various blue-collar workers is a further illustration of the sociocultural nature of learning. In the workplace, groups and organizations develop specialized language, rituals, shared values, and norms of participation. Through their experiences and interactions with others in these settings, adults learn the various cognitive and physical skills needed to be successful at their jobs. The work lives of waiters, hair stylists, plumbers, welders, carpenters, and electri- cians are not usually associated with learning or learning science. However, Rose’s case studies illustrate how learning and even science learning occurs in the informal context of their work. The cognitive and physical skills of blue-collar work are learned in a manner that reflects the defining characteristics of learning in informal en- vironments, such as direct access to phenomena and learning with others (such as through apprenticeship relationships) (Rose, 2004). For example, in his observations of a carpentry class, Rose shows that high school students learned by planning and building objects in class and as volunteers at Habitat for Humanity sites. While working in small groups to build cabinets, tables, and homes, students learned many of the physical skills (e.g., measuring, sanding, sawing) required of carpenters. In these groups, students learned from “guided participation.” The more experienced students coached or

216 Learning Science in Informal Environments facilitated more novice students’ use of tools or their understanding of how all the pieces come together. Students also learned important lessons just by being around others doing work. For example, one student said “You see work going on all around you. You see people making small, small mistakes, and you learn from that” (Rose, 2004, p. 76). The teacher also played an important role in the classroom. His assistance often came in the form of sharing tricks of the trade that he developed from years of experience. For example, when he noticed a student who was struggling to hammer a nail into a board, he explained that if the student moved his hand down on the tool he would produce more force. When the student made the adjustment, he was surprised at the different feel of swinging the hammer and that the hammer now seemed more power- ful. Rose explains that such interactions not only lead to learning a physical skill, but also lead to an awareness of the connection between the work and such scientific principles as force, friction, and balance. There is, of course, a substantial difference between knowing where to hold a hammer to exert the most force on a nail head and mastering a scientific explanation of the same. However, as diSessa (1993) has argued, learners may quickly develop embodied knowledge or “phenomenological principles” through such expe- riences. Later the learner may relate these phenomenological principles to more abstract concepts (e.g., force, momentum, leverage). The cultural and historical nature of learning relates not only to the ac- cumulation of facts and concepts, but also to identity development. As Lave and Wenger (1991) explain, “Learning involves the construction of identities. . . . [It is] an evolving form of membership” (p. 53). “Our identities are rich and complex because they are produced within the rich and complex set of relations of practice” (Wenger, 1998, p. 162). When speaking about identity, people often first consider such demographic characteristics as age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. Although these factors no doubt have the potential to influence people’s attitudes and behavior, as well as the ways in which others may treat them in society, Fienberg and Leinhardt (2002) suggest: “Another conception of identity is that it includes the kinds of knowledge and patterns of experience people have that are relevant to a particular activity. This second view treats identity as part of a social context, where prominence of any given feature varies, depending on which aspects of the social context are most salient at a given time” (p. 168). This discussion of learning as a cultural process illustrates that how learn- ing occurs and what is learned are influenced by personal and contextual factors from early childhood through adulthood. Applying a sociocultural perspective to the different modes of learning and valued knowledge across and within cultures can move the discussion from one based on a deficit model to one that recognizes and values the contributions of a wide variety of cultural groups.

Diversity and Equity 217 Science Learning Is Cultural Too often cultural diversity in science learning is studied by comparing the skills and knowledge of children from nondominant groups with those from the dominant group (Chavajay and Rogoff, 1995). In these comparisons, mainstream skills and upbringing are considered “normal” and variations observed in nondominant groups are taken as aberrations that produce deficits, lending support to a deficit model of diversity. Such studies do not appropriately account for the cultural nature of education environments or the diverse practices of science. Science has been described by some as a social construct, “heavily de- pendent on cultural contexts, power relationships, value systems, ideological dogma and human emotional needs” (Harding, 1998, p. 3). Although this view of science is a contested one, seeing science as “a culturally-mediated way of thinking and knowing suggests that learning can be defined as engagement with scientific practices” (Brickhouse, Lowery, and Schultz, 2000, p. 441). This, in turn, can lead to expectations and limitations that greatly impact who engages in science and how science is conducted. When people enter into the practices of science, they do not shed their cultural world views at the door. Calabrese Barton (1998b) argues for allowing science and science understanding to grow out of lived experiences and that, in doing so, people “remove the binary distinction from doing science or not doing science and being in science or being out of science . . . allow[ing] connections between [learners’] life worlds and science to be made more easily . . . [and] providing space for multiple voices to be heard and explored” (p. 389). This view is a very powerful one when one considers the goals of informal environments for learning science. It has also been argued that the field of science itself is quite diverse in the methods it employs. Nobel laureate physicist P.W. Bridgeman argued that “there is no scientific method as such” (Dalton, 1967, cited in Bogdan and Biklen, 2007). He continued by stating that “many eminent physicists, chemists, and mathematicians question whether there is a reproducible method that all investigators could or should follow, and they have been shown in their research to take diverse, and often unascertainable steps in discovering and solving problems” (Dalton, 1967, p. 41). This conception of science illustrates the need to cultivate various ways of knowing, learning, and evaluating evidence. Ways of knowing, learning, and evaluating evidence are connected to the language and discourse styles accepted in science and science learning. Traditional classroom practices have been found to be successful for students whose discourse practices at home resemble those of school science—mainly students from middle-class and upper-middle class European American homes (Kurth, Anderson, and Palincsar, 2002). Such practices create an exclusionary aspect to science in which the discourse of science functions as a gatekeeper

218 Learning Science in Informal Environments barring individuals from nondominant groups, because their science-related practices may not be acknowledged (Lee and Fradd, 1998; Lemke, 1990; Moje, Collazo, Carillo, and Marx, 2001; Brown, 2006). Recognizing that language use and discourse patterns may vary across culturally diverse groups, researchers point to the importance of recogniz- ing the use of informal and native language, as well as culturally developed communication and interaction patterns in science education (e.g., Lee and Fradd, 1996; Warren et al., 2001; Moschkovich, 2002). Lee and Fradd (1996) noted distinct patterns of discourse (e.g., use of simultaneous or sequential speech) around science topics in groups of students from different back- grounds. As mentioned earlier, Rosebery, Warren, and Conant (1992) identi- fied connections between Haitian Creole students’ skills in story-telling and argumentation and science inquiry, using those connections to support their learning of both the content and the practices of science. Hudicourt-Barnes (2001) demonstrated how bay odyans—the Haitian argumentative discus- sion style—can be a great resource for students as they practice science and scientific discourse. Children’s experience with scientific thinking also varies a great deal, depending on a range of issues, such as culture, gender, and parents’ edu- cational, financial, and occupational background. For example, Valle (2007) found that parents with college majors in engineering were more likely to discuss scientific evidence with their children in the context of conflicting claims (e.g., the relative advantages and disadvantages of food additives) than were parents with a background in the humanities. The cultural nature of science described in this section illustrates the need to expand the perspective on what counts as scientific thinking and competence. Science education often tends to privilege certain ways of demonstrating understanding of a phenomenon or topic (Ballenger, 1997). Therefore it is often difficult for students of diverse backgrounds to reconcile their own discursive norms with the norms of scientific discourse typically presented in both formal and informal environments for learning. A potential consequence of this narrow view of science practices is that students may dis-identify with science, perceiving it as incompatible with their own cultural values (Lederman, Abd-El-Khalick, Bett, and Schwartz, 2002). CULTURE AND SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE Research exploring the access to and participation in science of specific groups is generally limited. However, there is an emergent research base related to science learning in informal environments for a small set of under- represented cultures. Here, we synthesize research on four groups and their experiences with learning science in informal environments. In this synthesis we illustrate common themes that underlie the experiences of individuals with varied cultural and historical backgrounds.

Diversity and Equity 219 Gender The largest body of research with regard to access and equity in science learning focuses on gender with specific attention to underrepresentation of women. Gender can be viewed, and ultimately studied, from a range of perspectives. The prevailing view of gender in the field is that it is not a fixed attribute, but it is constructed in social interactions (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006). Gender is only one component of diversity, and, despite the overlap- ping similarities among women, issues of ethnicity, class, culture, and the like all contribute to socialization and play a role in learning. Statistically, a case can be made that gender impacts career success and pursuits in ways that are inconsistent with women’s level of achievement. Although there is convincing evidence that gender does not define capabil- ity, its impact on skill and capacity building is unclear. Statistical Evidence of Gender Disparities Statistics suggest continued areas of inequity, but overall, there are great improvements in science participation by gender. Recent statistics suggest that, since 2000, women have earned more science and engineering bach- elors degrees than men (National Science Foundation, 2007). However, the numbers are less favorable when separated by area of science. For example, the gap in male and female degree earners in computer sciences has wid- ened over the past few years (National Science Foundation, 2007). In their review of research on gender differences in mathematics and science learn- ing, Halpern and colleagues (2007) found small mean differences between male and female science achievement and ability in comparison to the large variance within male and within female scores. The variance in male scores is consistently greater than that found in female scores, leading to more men than women scoring in the highest and lowest quartiles in tests of science achievement and ability. In general, the differences between male and female participation in science have been decreasing over the past 20 years (National Science Foun- dation, 2002). Women constituted a greater percentage of science graduate students in 2004 than in 1994, growing from 37 to 42 percent. This varied by field of science. In 2004, women made up 74 percent of the graduate students in psychology, 56 percent in biology, and 53 percent in social sci- ences. However, women accounted for only 22 percent of graduate students in engineering and 27 percent in computer sciences, with a 30-45 percent representation in most other science fields (National Science Foundation, 2007). Disparity in participation in science increases further along the edu- cational continuum (Lawler, 2002; Mervis, 1999; Sax, 2001). Seymour and Hewitt (1997) found that undergraduate women were more likely to leave the sciences than similarly achieving men.

220 Learning Science in Informal Environments Changes in the science workforce have been slower to emerge. In fact, there are some indications that the percentage of women in the science work- force actually decreased from 1999 (46 percent) to 2002 (24 percent; National Science Foundation, 2002). Recent data also illustrate that women are less likely to obtain tenure (29 percent of women compared with 58 percent of men at four-year colleges) or to achieve the rank of full professor in science and engineering fields (23 percent of women compared with 50 percent of men; Ginther and Kahn, 2006). Male doctoral science and engineering faculty outnumber female ones by more than 2 to 1 (National Science Foundation, 2007, p. 20). Eisenhart (2001) suggests that the structure and expectations of physical science programs are more rigid and thus alienating to women with additional agendas, such as families, hobbies, and the like. These differences are not occurring only in the United States. Results from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003) revealed no significant difference between fourth grade male and female students’ science scores. However, in eighth grade, on average, across all countries, boys scored significantly higher than girls. In 28 of the 46 participating countries, boys scored signifi- cantly higher than girls, while girls scored significantly higher than boys in seven countries. In countries in which achievement gaps have narrowed and even closed—Uganda, the Philippines, Ghana, Finland, and Japan—overall engagement in science remains unequal. The reasons for the gender dif- ferences in science achievement and engagement in the United States and other countries remain unclear. A European Commission publication on gender equality in science calls for “sociocultural understanding of gender and multidisciplinary gender research” (European Commission, 2008). This is reiterated by ­Calabrese Barton and Brickhouse (2006): “It seems important . . . to understand why it is that achievement does not necessarily lead to access to high-status science. If one wants to understand why it is that ac- cess to many areas of science continues to be a struggle, one must look beyond achievement and examine more broadly how gendered identities are constructed and how they interact with an educational system that serves an important gate keeping function” (p. 227). Sociocultural Influences: Experiences Vary by Gender The Institute of Education Sciences (2007) identified three areas in which consistent gender differences emerged and could be influenced: (1) beliefs about abilities, (2) perceptions of the importance of careers, and (3) the importance of sparking an interest and then cultivating it throughout the school year. Girls may be succeeding on measures of standard success, however they are not necessarily identifying with science (Calabrese Barton and Brickhouse, 2006). Growing areas of research center on related questions. How are beliefs and identities linked to future choices? What does it mean

Diversity and Equity 221 to identify with science, and how can identity development be enhanced? How and why do achievement and actual engagement in science differ? What is the timing of developmental differences, if they exist, or of sociocultural influences that have positive or negative impacts? Identity.  Lips (2004) and Packard and Nguyen (2003) have begun to ex- amine a framework to consider how girls’ images of themselves as possible scientists can influence future choices. For example, self-efficacy beliefs have been linked to mathematics and science-related choices (Simpkins, Davis- Keans, and Eccles, 2006). Focusing on physical science, researchers looked for longitudinal association between students’ mathematics- and science- related activities, beliefs, and course-taking practices from fifth through twelfth grade. The participation of youth in out of school mathematics and science activities during fifth grade predicted self-concepts about the fields and level of interest and perceived importance in subsequent years. Related to self-conceptions is the study of stereotype threat (Steele and Aronson, 1995). McGlone and Aronson (2006) compared male and female performance when primed with positive achieved identities and negative stereotypes. They saw corresponding variation in performance, suggesting that social context and mind sets may be important. The point at which gendered identities arise with regard to science is unknown. Substantial evidence documents the many ways in which girls and boys are exposed to gendered messages, experiences, and stereotypi- cal perspectives from their earliest days, beginning at home, and continuing throughout their school years and in out-of-school programs and contexts. Parents’ differential socialization of girls and boys has frequently been sug- gested as a possible influence on the gender differences in perceptions of and participation in science. In fact, some studies have shown differences in parental and adult encouragement in science depending on the gender of their child. Differences in the ways parents engage children of different genders is evident in conversations, questioning, access to resources, ex- pectations, and perceptions of capabilities with regard to science learning, interest, and achievement (Crowley et al., 2001a). Specifically, parents are more likely to believe that science is less interesting and more difficult for daughters than sons (Tenenbaum and Leaper, 2003). Mothers underestimate the mathematical abilities of daughters and overestimate those of sons (Frome and Eccles, 1998). Fathers tend to use more cognitively demanding speech with sons than with daughters while engaged in science tasks (Tenenbaum and Leaper, 2003); and, when playing games with their children, mothers are more likely to talk about related scientific process when interacting with boys than with girls (Tenenbaum, Snow, Roach, and Kurland, 2005). Girls’ inter- est in mathematics was observed to decrease as father’s gender stereotypes increased, while boys’ interest increased (Jacobs et al., 2005). Exposure to science toys, computers, and science-related experiences overall has been

222 Learning Science in Informal Environments shown to differ for children depending on their gender (Kahle, 1998; Kahle and Meece, 1994; Sadker and Sadker, 1992, 1994). Teachers, like parents, have been observed to question children of different genders in different ways and to encourage science-related skills (question-asking, use of tools) variably according to gender. For example, in science classes, teachers are more likely to encourage boys to ask questions and to explain concepts (American Association of University Women, 1995; Jones and Wheatley, 1990). This calls attention to the critical role adults can play in supporting science learning and the importance of adults’ roles as facilitators across multiple contexts (Crowley et al., 2001a; Falk and Dierking, 1992, 2000; McCreedy, 2005). Many efforts outside of home and school exist and have been developed specifically to address concerns about gendered science trajectories (See- ing Gender, 2006). However, while many programs see immediate impacts (albeit often self-reported), few programs have the benefit of funding and opportunity to look longitudinally at their impact (Gender Equity Expert Panel, 2000). As discussed in Chapter 5 a handful of studies have specifi- cally looked at gender relations and the interactions of families in museum contexts which have documented, among other things, variable participation and interaction structures for boys and girls (Borun et al., 1998; Crowley et al., 2001b; Diamond, 1986; Dierking, 1987; Ellenbogen, 2002; Laetsch, D ­ iamond, Gottfried, and Rosenfeld, 1980). A review of research on girls’ participation in physics in the United King- dom (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006) reinforces how differences in perceptions may influence strategies for engagement. Girls and boys differed in what they considered relevant when solving problems. These differences have the potential to lead to differing perceptions of competence. Differences between what girls and boys have learned is relevant and has a valuable effect on the problems they perceive. Girls are more likely to give value to the social context in which tasks are posed in defining a problem; boys are more likely than girls not to “notice” the context (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006). What learners pay attention to—or learn to value as useful information—may in- fluence what they learn and may also result in negative perceptions of their competence among educators and parents. Career choices.  With regard to career choices, some have focused on early intervention due to concerns about decreases in girls’ perception of their science ability over years of schooling (Jovanovic and King, 1998). In look- ing at career patterns of youth first questioned in middle school and then followed into their adult lives, Tai, Liu, Maltese, and Fan (2006) document the importance of career expectations for young adolescents and suggest that early elementary experiences (before eighth grade) may be critical. Fadigan and Hammrich’s (2005) longitudinal study of high school girls who participated in an after-school, summer, and weekend program offered by

Diversity and Equity 223 the Academy of Natural Sciences documented the impact of these experi- ences on career choices. In particular, they found that of 152 women from urban, low-income, single-parent families who participated in the program, 109 enrolled in college, and the majority reported that their educational and career decisions were influenced by the opportunity to talk to staff and de- velop job skills and in having the museum as a safe place to go. Many adults are involved in children’s daily lives, including immediate family members or guardians, teachers, and adults with whom children spend out-of-school time (such as youth group leaders, after-school facilitators, and child care providers). The influence that early experiences and role models can have in supporting women’s engagement in science is further reflected in the retrospective studies of what launched female scientists down their career paths. These women often cite particular individuals or contexts outside schools as significant influences on their pursuit of science careers (Baker, 1992; Fort, Bird, and Didion, 1993). In a study of barriers and strategies for success among female scientists (Hathaway, Sharp, and Davis, 2001), women reflected on the importance of finding informal networks and supporters through family as well as outside routes. In addition, as Eisenhart and Finkel (1998) found, “once outside the confines of conventional school science and engaged in more meaningful activities, women seemed to lack neither an interest in science nor the ability to learn it” (p. 239). Thus, it seems impera- tive to understand more about the nontraditional contexts and individuals instrumental in influencing young women in science, as well as the ways in which opportunities offered in nontraditional and intergenerational contexts available in informal environments can challenge the ways gendered mes- sages about science are reproduced. Overall, inequities persist in science participation by gender; however, there has been a positive trend toward reducing these gender inequities in science participation and achievement. The disparities continue to be more apparent in each successive level of education and career. Contextual and personal factors are related to these issues of inequity. Self-efficacy and gen- der stereotypes have been associated with girls’ participation in science, and connected to the different types of encouragement provided to boys and girls by their parents, teachers, and other adults. Engagement with scientists and with science outside the context of formal environments for learning shows promise in mediating the impacts of self-efficacy and gender stereotype is- sues for young women. Native Americans For people from nondominant groups, negotiating between various systems and communities can be stressful and problematic. Aikenhead (1996) described this process in relation to science education as one in which students must engage in “border crossings” from their own everyday

224 Learning Science in Informal Environments culture into the subculture of science. These border crossings often involve code switching (different discourse practices and forms of argumentation) and therefore require students to be proficient in more than one linguistic tradition (McCarthy, 1980). To illustrate these points, we draw on the con- trast between Native American science and Western science (Brayboy and Castagno, 2007). It is important to keep in mind that there is not one native culture and to resist essentializing tribal cultures. There are more than 500 federally rec- ognized tribes, and as many or more languages from more than 50 language families. There are some similarities in the epistemologies and ontologies of different tribal peoples, but this does not imply that a single or unified native science or native epistemology characterizes all tribal nations or all indigenous people. It is evident from history that indigenous peoples have long been sci- entists and inventors of scientific ideas. Indigenous peoples in the Americas created toboggans to carry the heavy carcasses of deer and caribou; built seaworthy kayaks and canoes; constructed snowshoes and snow goggles; domesticated a wide range of plants, including corn, potatoes, squash, beans, and peanuts; built architectural masterpieces in which they lived and ovens in which they cooked; used petroleum to create rubber and stars to successfully navigate the continent; and found ways to dry meat for storage and future use. Awareness of the need to improve science education for indigenous students is not new. Thirty years ago, the American Association for the Ad- vancement of Science (AAAS) noted that one primary obstacle to indigenous participation in science was the lack of relevance of science to their lives. Based on this observation, the AAAS issued a number of recommendations for improving science teaching and learning for native youth. These recom- mendations included using an ethnoscientific approach to teaching science and a bilingual approach in particular contexts. In response, scholars have called for science education that directly relates to the lives of indigenous students and tribal communities. Most scholars agree that, to be most ef- fective, learning environments must be connected and relevant to the local community, rather than some perceived unitary indigenous community (Aikenhead, 2001; Allen and Seumptewa, 1993; Cajete, 1988, 1999; Davison and Miller, 1998). The goal of science education through a multicultural or culturally re- sponsive lens is not only to connect science to indigenous students’ lives, but also to create better scientists and students with stronger critical thinking skills. These goals are shared by scholars and tribal community members alike. Kawagley (1999) and Martin (1995) have found that tribal elders from Yup’ik and Iroquoian communities want their youth to learn multiple world views and be able to operate in both the dominant and tribal communities. A further goal of science education ought to be to foster more positive at-

Diversity and Equity 225 titudes toward science among indigenous communities. Indeed, researchers have found that incorporating culturally responsive approaches into sci- ence education results in a more positive attitude toward science, which in turn impact academic achievement (Matthews and Smith, 1994; Ritchie and Butler, 1990). Indeed, if the primary goal is more effective science education for indigenous students, epistemological and sociocultural issues should be recognized. The issue of world views or indigenous epistemologies is especially relevant to culturally based science education as Nelson-Barber and Estrin (1995) note: In considering what would constitute a curriculum and an approach to in- struction that is valid for a given cultural group, we must first consider the customary ways of knowing and acquiring knowledge of that group. We are faced with essential epistemological questions such as, “What counts as important knowledge or knowing?,” “What counts as evidence for claiming something to be true?,” and “How and when should knowledge or under- standing be expressed or shared?”… A blanket approach to students that fails to take socio-cultural factors into consideration is not likely to succeed in reaching all students (p. 22). The concept of an indigenous science recognizes the role of culture, subjectivity, and perspective in making sense of the world and draws atten- tion to the notion that people interpret reality through a particular cultural lens. Epistemological concerns and sociocultural factors must be central to the discussion of native or indigenous science and to efforts to provide a more culturally responsive science education to indigenous students. Haukoos and LeBeau (1992) further elaborate this point: Science is also problematic because it fails to consider the socio-cultural environments in which students and communities live, it presents scien- tific knowledge as objective and universal, and thus fails to recognize that scientific knowledge is itself socially constructed. . . . This presumed objectivity and universalism of Western Science rationalizes our failure to acknowledge other ways of knowing. And, as Snively and Corsiglia (2001) have pointed out, “many scientists and science educators continue to view the contributions of Indigenous science as ‘useful,’ but outside the realm of ‘real science’” (p. 15). As discussed throughout this chapter, science is itself a subculture of Western culture, thus engaging in science education is already a cross-cultural event for many students (Aikenhead, 1998; Cobern and Aikenhead, 1998). Many indigenous students attempting to learn Western science must cross cultural borders and acquire facility in another culture. They must be able to use the linguistic traditions of both their own and the majority culture. Delpit (1988, 1995) argues that teachers must explicitly teach their students

226 Learning Science in Informal Environments the norms and codes of the “culture of power” so that students who are not members of that culture obtain the necessary skills to negotiate the culture when they choose to do so. A similar effort needs to be made to make these norms and codes explicit for learning science in informal environments. Finally, more detailed studies of native world views and understand- ings of nature have implications for designed environments. For example, the common Western view that nature is something external, something to be preserved, and something that is at its best when humans are visitors, not residents (e.g., national parks), may lead to depictions of ecosystems that do not include human beings, even though people are likely to play a dominant role in the viability of these same ecosystems. American Indians, who see themselves as a part of nature, may be puzzled by this omission (Bang, Medin, and Atran, 2007). In summary, students from nondominant cultures, such as American Indians, must engage in border crossings from their everyday culture to the subculture of science when participating in science. To develop more effec- tive science education in informal environments for nondominant cultures, epistemological and sociocultural issues must be recognized and taken into account. For example, the differing world views of the natural world in American Indian cultures are often not valued and can make engaging and participating in science especially difficult and confusing. People with Disabilities Variation in cognitive, physical, and sensory abilities is another aspect of diversity to be considered and mediated in informal environments for science learning. Among school-age children, some 6.7 million are categorized as disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) (Na- tional Center for Education Statistics, 2006). Among adults ages 25-64, about 24.4 million are categorized as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act, about 16.1 million of whom are categorized as having a severe disability (Steinmetz, 2006). According to the 2002 census, the rates of disabilities are higher among older people than younger people. For example, 8.4 percent of children under age 15 were categorized as disabled, 11 percent of people ages 25-44, 19.4 percent of people ages 45-54, and 72 percent of people over the age of 80. People with disabilities make up a sizable population (about 18 percent of the U.S. population), and they can be well served by science learning experiences in informal environments. There are many constraints on access to science for people with disabili- ties, including navigation of physical spaces and access to and processing of language. Constraints on access are often multiple and act in concert, resulting in limitations on opportunity to learn science for those who experience a disability. For example, people with hearing impairment may feel cut off from science across multiple settings that are typically available to others. While

Diversity and Equity 227 others may passively consume science news stories as “background noise” on television or radio during the workday or at home, a hearing impairment prevents this. Given limitations to their access to spoken language, hear- ing-impaired students’ may have less access to specialized forms of science language (e.g., Lemke, 1990; Lehrer and Schauble, 2006; National Research Council, 2007). This compounding of limitations on learning science for people with disabilities presents both a serious challenge and an exciting opportunity for learning science in informal venues. The literature on science learning in informal environments for people with disabilities is extremely thin, yet it offers some useful analyses of the factors to be considered and the practices that may enable or enhance participation. There are two prominent ways of framing the issue. On one hand, educators and researchers explore the specific challenges associated with accessing science learning experiences in informal environments as those experiences are currently construed. This includes analysis of the gaps between the skills and practices required to participate in informal venues and the ability profile of learners in order to develop interventions and tech- nologies that will enable participation. On the other hand, disability can be thought of as situated and culturally determined (McDermott and Varenne, 1995, 1996). From this perspective, the notion of ability is defined in light of a particular task and setting, and an individual’s ability to complete it (or not) and conventional labels used to characterize “disability” are not valid. The label of disability is instead applied to the interaction between a particular individual and a particular task. In addressing accessibility, educators and researchers attend to a vari- ety of concerns, from simply getting participants through the door to how to make experiences relevant and accessible to people with physical and sensory disabilities. The cost of enrolling in science learning programs in informal settings and visiting informal institutions for learning science may be prohibitive for people with disabilities, as they experience higher rates of unemployment (National Center for Education Statistics, 2006). Physical access to place-based science learning and programs can be complicated or even impossible for many individuals. People who are visually impaired may struggle to navigate designed spaces in order to find exhibits of inter- est. Programming interactive science experiences for a diverse public (e.g., participatory labs, field-based investigations) also requires analysis of the ways in which people with disabilities can and cannot engage. For example, there may be limitations in how a physically disabled person can participate   The Americans with Disabilities Act requires any entity that receives federal funding to make reasonable accommodations to ensure that facilities are accessible to people with dis- abilities. See the accessibility guidelines at http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag. htm.

228 Learning Science in Informal Environments in a species count in a local ecosystem. Similarly, hands-on demonstrations may require use of sight and sound. Adaptive practices and technologies can facilitate some of these access constraints. For example, several interesting innovations facilitate navigation of exhibits. The New York Hall of Science has experimented with cell phones that allow visitors to call exhibits that are equipped with bells that activate when calls come in. People then follow the sound to locate the exhibit. Reich, Chin, and Kunz (2006) report on the use of virtual personal digital assistants that use American Sign Language in the context of a science/science-fiction exhibition at the Museum of Science, Boston. Study participants reported feeling they were freed from reliance on interpreters and other hearing par- ticipants. They reported greater freedom to pursue their own agenda. People with learning disabilities also face unique challenges to learning science, and a limited body of research has characterized the barriers to their participation. Most of this work has examined children’s experience in inquiry- oriented classrooms. The barriers identified include science being presented in highly abstract theoretical forms, overreliance on students’ written forms of communication, reliance on individual (rather than group) scientific tasks, and peer group exclusion (Morocco, 2001; Palincsar, Collins, Marano, and Magnusson, 2000). Although approaches to mediating science for people with learning disabilities have not been studied thoroughly and almost no work has taken place in informal settings for science learning, several promising ideas have emerged. These include linking real-world scenarios to scientific abstractions, using peer conversation, providing support with writing tasks, and allowing children to try out their thinking with a teacher or aid before presenting it to the class (Palincsar et al., 2000; Rivard, 2004). Researchers have also observed specific research practices to be used with children with learning disabilities. They call for assessment tasks that model appropriate language for them (rather than requiring them to generate language) and using multiple measures of student thinking (Carlisle, 1999). While adaptive technologies and practices may ease access to informal environments for science learning, there are also more fundamental cultural issues to address that entail holistic reassessment of the practices of informal venues for science education, as well as research and development frame- works. Understanding and engaging the disability community may lie beyond the scope of adaptive technologies. As suggested by McDermott and Varenne (1995, 1996), it may be more accurate to think about disability as cultural, where participation is an intersection of the cultures of science and science learning institutions with the communities of people with disabilities. In this sense, the barriers to participation are culturally produced and culturally overcome. Like other underrepresented groups, people with dis- abilities may tend to dis-identify with science, face language barriers, and experience political and ideological tension between the norms of science and host institutions and those of their cultural group. For example, Molander,

Diversity and Equity 229 Pedersen, and Norell (2001) studied and observed that a core group of deaf students rejected science. Two sets of interviews with deaf students were carried out to assess if there were differences between how deaf and hear- ing students reason about science. A survey from the National Evaluation of Compulsory Schools was used so that the results of the interviews with deaf students could be compared with the responses by hearing students that were previously reported. The first group interview, with three 15-year- old eighth grade students, was carried out to study how likely they were to use scientific concepts or models to answer the interview questions related to scientific phenomena. In the second set of interviews, seven 17-year-old tenth grade students were given the same questions and were also shown a scientific experiment described by one of the students in the first interviews to explain the process of recycling matter. Unlike other students, who, in the context of the interviews, freely mixed their personal experiences with scientific observations, a significant portion of deaf students did not. These students also made negative statements about their abilities in science. The researchers interpreted this as cultural resistance, speculating that students felt that joining a scientific culture would mean rejecting deaf culture. Similarly, in a study of deaf students, ages 7 to 17, about their understanding of cosmol- ogy, Roald and Oyvind (2001) observed that young deaf students performed as well as their hearing peers, whereas older deaf students did not. Universal design for learning is a philosophy and educational practice based on a cultural conception of ability and learning that aims to create learning environments that are better for everyone. Tenets of universal design, according to the Center for Applied and Specialized Technologies (CAST), include representing information in multiple formats and media, providing multiple pathways to engage students’ action and expression, and providing multiple ways to engage students’ interest and motivation (Rose and Meyer, 2002). As a framework for research and development, universal design is in its infancy, but it may be a particularly useful framework for informal venues for science learning. For example, Reich, Chin, and Kunz (2006) conducted a number of case studies on the accessibility of computer kiosks in a science museum. Her sample of 16 included learners ages 17 to 77 with a range of abilities and disabilities. She set out to understand the usefulness of three distinct inter- active computer displays in the Museum of Science, Boston. Reich’s study validated certain design elements common to the three exhibits (e.g., button interface design), which were used successfully by all participants, as well as specific aspects of exhibit design that inhibited participation. Reich’s work also validated the idea that ability is situational. For example, she observed nondisabled computer users struggling with computer kiosks and a visually impaired noncomputer user who thrived in a computer environment. In summary, this literature explores how adaptive technologies can ease access to science learning in informal environments. The general tenor of the

230 Learning Science in Informal Environments research suggests that viewing disability as cultural leads to greater under- standing and engagement of disabled learners. Seeing barriers to participation as cultural will require informal venues to make holistic reassessments of their practices. Emerging frameworks for research and development, such as universal design, illustrate the potential impacts of making such holistic reassessments. Urban and Rural Environments The nature of the environments to which individuals are exposed in- fluences their conceptions of scientific principles and ways of knowing. There is evidence that outdoor experiences foster social development and academic success (Hattie, Marsh, Neill, and Richards, 1997) and that being in nature is a stress reducer for children (Wells and Evans, 2003). Given this emphasis, it is surprising that few have directed attention toward sci- ence learning within different outdoor (nondesigned) environments. In this section, we describe a handful of studies that suggest that some aspects of children’s culture are influenced by whether they grow up in either urban or rural environments, and that these differences in culture impact people’s understanding of biology. Most research studies on children’s biology have been carried out with urban, middle-class children. One claim growing out of this traditional re- search pattern is that young children are strongly anthropocentric—that is, that they tend to interpret entities in the biological world by comparing them to a single (human) standard. The predominant evidence supporting this claim comes from young children’s performance on a category-based induction task. In this task, children are introduced to a single base (e.g., a dog, a bee, a human), hear a novel property attributed to that base (e.g., “dogs have andro inside of them”), and are then asked whether this property holds for other bases, both biological and nonbiological (e.g., birds, raccoons, fish, trees, bicycles). Using this procedure with young children, Carey (1985) reported several striking results. First, children made far more inductive generalizations to other animals when introduced to a human rather than a nonhuman animal base (either a dog or a bee). The resulting pattern violated generalizations based on biological similarity. For example, 4- to 5-year-olds generalized more from a human to a bug than from a bee to a bug. In addition, strong asymmetries existed; children were more likely, for example, to generalize from a human base to a dog than from a dog base to a human. Carey argues that this asymmetry reveals the central status of humans in biological reasoning. Going further, she argues that this early anthropocen- trism must be overturned if children are to embrace the Western scientific view in which humans are not the most central exemplar or prototype, but rather are one among many biological entities.

Diversity and Equity 231 Why might young children be especially anthropocentric? One factor may be that they are presumably exposed more to humans than to other biological kinds. Another idea is that children are reluctant to generalize from any base without extensive knowledge about that biological kind. In support of this notion and as discussed in Chapter 4, Inagaki (1990) examined generalization of biological properties by children in Tokyo, some of whom had extensive experience raising goldfish. She found that children who had no pets showed a familiar anthropocentric pattern of generalization, whereas children raising goldfish showed two generalization gradients—one around humans and one around goldfish (e.g., they generalized from goldfish to turtles). If intimate experience with biological kinds governs patterns of gener- alization, then rural children may not show anthropocentrism at all. Ross, Medin, Coley, and Atran (2003) examined inductive generalizations from dif- ferent bases among urban children, rural European American children, and rural American Indian children using a procedure similar but not identical to that employed by Carey (1985). For both groups of rural children, human was not a better base for gen- eralization than a nonhuman mammal. Young urban children showed broad and relatively undifferentiated generalization. Ross et al. (2003) also found evidence for an alternative strategy for generalization. Older rural European American and American Indian children of all ages sometimes generalized in terms of ecological or causal relations. For example, when they were told that bees have “andro” inside them, they might reply that bears also have andro inside them, justifying their judgments by saying that andro might be transmitted to bears when bees sting them, or that andro might also be in honey (which bears eat). Other results suggest that evidence for anthropocentrism in young chil- dren depends on the details of tasks and procedures (Waxman and Medin, 2007) but that it is seen only in young urban children. Although anthropo- centrism may reflect a lack of intimate experience with the biological world, it may also reflect an anthropocentric cultural model, as seen, for example, in Disney movies and in the way urban pets are often treated (e.g., dogs are typically seen as part of the family). Related work reinforces the idea that urban (as differentiated from rural) environments influence the development of children’s biology. For example, Coley and associates (Coley, Vitkin, Seaton, and Yopchick, 2005) have ex- amined taxonomic and ecological generalization as a function of age and experience. Rather than dichotomizing children as urban versus rural, Coley used the continuous measure of population density. He found that taxonomic generalization shows little, if any, variation as a function of age or population density (see Waxman and Medin, 2007, for similar results using a different paradigm) but that ecological generalization increased systematically with age and decreased systematically with population density. In addition, the distinction between properties that may be distributed by ecological agents

232 Learning Science in Informal Environments versus intrinsic biological properties also increases with age and decreases with population density. In short, sensitivity to ecological relations appears to vary as a function of culture and geography. Studies conducted in Poland also suggest that environment matters. Using a category-based induction task patterned after Ross et al. (2003), Tarlowski (2006) found that urban 4- to 5-year-olds generalized in a broad, relatively undifferentiated manner from a human, nonhuman mammal, and insect base, whereas rural children generalized as a function of biological (taxonomic) similarity and showed no evidence for anthropocentrism. Tarlowski added an interesting twist to his studies with the variable of whether the child had a parent who was a biological expert. The findings associated having an expert parent with greater differentiation of generalization to biological ver- sus nonbiological kinds. In general, the effects of “rural versus urban” and “expert versus layperson” parents appeared to be additive. Overall, these studies tend to associate children’s exposure to a rural rather than an urban environment with reduced anthropocentrism and greater sensitivity to ecological relations. Having a parent with expertise in biology also apparently helps young children display a more mature understand- ing of biology. This research also calls into question the current practice of treating urban, middle-class children as the gold standard for claims about cognitive development in science learning in general—and science learning in informal environments in particular. SCIENCE LEARNING IN INFORMAL SETTINGS FOR DIVERSE POPULATIONS Ownership and Outreach As we have argued, informal settings for science learning are themselves embedded in cultural assumptions that may tend to privilege the world view, discourse practices, and contextualizing elements of the dominant culture. People from nondominant cultural groups may tend to see these institutions as being owned and operated by this same group. Garibay (2006a, 2006b, 2007) identified a number of factors—particularly the lack of diverse staff, perceptions that content was not culturally relevant, and the unavailability of bilingual or multilingual resources—that resulted in second-generation Latinos feeling unwelcome in museums. When museum staffs conceptualize efforts to broaden participation as “outreach,” they implicitly endorse this view of ownership. The term “outreach” implies that some communities are external to the institution. Collaboration, partnership, and diversity in power and “ownership” may provide greater opportunity for nondominant groups to see their own ways of sense-making reflected in informal settings, designed environments, and practices.

Diversity and Equity 233 Attendance patterns appear to reflect this disconnect. For example, several studies have noted that informal institutions for science learning (e.g., museums, nature centers, zoos, etc.) face challenges in reaching and serving nondominant groups. In a study of adult programming in museums, participants had very high levels of education (just over 70 percent had col- lege or postgraduate degrees) compared with the general U.S. adult popula- tion (Sachatello-Sawyer, 1996). Similarly, Rockman Et Al (2007) noted that the audience for science media tends to be a predominantly white, older, wealthier, and more educated segment of society. A study in Chicago about cultural participation, which also included several science-focused informal institutions, found that participation was highest in predominantly white, high-income sections of the metropolitan area (LaLonde et al., 2006) despite the fact that many museums are located in areas that are populated with large proportions of families from nondominant cultural groups. The informal science learning community and many related institutions are making efforts to address inequity. These efforts typically aim to introduce new audiences to existing science programming, through outreach initiatives, reduced-cost admission, or other methods. They do not often take into ac- count the contexts, perspectives, and needs of diverse populations. Design for Diverse Populations Although research on how to structure science learning opportunities to better serve nondominant groups is sparse, it does include several promis- ing insights and practices. These practices should serve as the basis for an ongoing research and development agenda. Environments should be developed in ways that expressly draw on participants’ cultural practices, including everyday language, linguistic prac- tices, and local cultural experiences. Designers of informal programs and spaces for science learning have long recognized the importance of prior knowledge that participants and visitors bring to schools and other learn- ing environments. This knowledge is typically considered culturally neutral (Heath, 2007; McDermott and Varenne, 2006). Much more attention should be paid to the ways in which culture shapes knowledge, orientations, and perspectives. These and other findings undermine the view that typical scientific practices are largely abstract logical derivations not associated with everyday experience of the natural world. This observation also underlines the oppor- tunity of educators working in designed environments (Cobb et al., 2003; Bell et al., 2006; Bricker and Bell, 2008) to take better advantage of the cultural practices that a diverse set of learners might bring to the environment. In designed environments, such as museums, bilingual or multilingual labels cannot only provide access to the specific content, but also can facilitate conversations and sense-making among groups. Bilingual interpretation, for

234 Learning Science in Informal Environments example, can enhance social interaction and learning in intergenerational groups with varying language abilities (Garibay and Gilmartin, 2003; Garibay, 2004a). Garibay observed that, in such groups, bilingual interpretive labels (English and Spanish) allowed adult members who were less proficient in English to read the labels and then discuss the content with their children, directly increasing the attention of these groups to the exhibition and learn- ing outcomes. The work of Ash (2004) with Spanish-speaking families in museums showed that the science themes of interest were similar across families with different backgrounds, but that the emergence of scientific dialogue was made possible by providing additional support, such as a Spanish-speaking media- tor. Ash discusses the importance of distributed expertise, joint productive activity, and progressive sense-making in promoting dialogic inquiry. The dynamic changes, however, for non-English-speaking families who cannot use signs or read English. Wheaton and Ash’s research (2008) on science education in informal programming found that participating girls welcomed and enjoyed the bilingual program because they learned science terminol- ogy and concepts in both languages and thus could better communicate with their parents (who were predominantly Spanish speaking) about what they were doing and learning in camp. This increased their confidence and helped bridge camp and home environments. Having community-based contacts that are familiar and safe can also be critical in engaging families in science exploration and conversations and even, at a more basic level, in helping diverse groups see museums as less enigmatic places and as viable destinations for their families (Garibay, 2004b). Members of diverse cultural groups can play a critical role in the development and implementation of programs, serving as designers, advis- ers, front-line educators, and evaluators of such efforts. Lee (2001) emphasizes the need to acknowledge and use a learner’s lin- guistic resources, pointing to the importance of a balanced orientation, which values a learner’s cultural identity. The Native Waters project, for example, strives to deliver culturally sensitive water education that includes program- matic components grounded in American Indian world views. The Algebra project, aimed explicitly at serving low-income and minority children, uses students’ lived experiences and local environments as the starting point to help them build an understanding of mathematical concepts. For example, drawing on urban students’ experiences riding the subway, participants might take a train ride and then reconstruct their trip using a map to represent a number line where they explore algebraic concepts, such as equivalent and positive and negative numbers (“how many” and “which direction”). Both Native Waters and the Algebra project consider community involvement cen- tral to their work and include community members (e.g., elders, college-age tutors) in their design process. The cultural variability of social structures (e.g., family structure, norms

Diversity and Equity 235 governing gender relations, patterns of underrepresentation) should be re- flected in design of informal environments for science learning as well. In a study of a nine-museum collaborative, for example, one of the initial problems was that one component of the project was designed for nuclear families where a parent was to bring their 9- to 10-year-old child, and did not account for the fact that local communities expected to participate in extended fam- ily groups. The expectation seemed to stem equally from families’ desire to spend time together and real limitations that parents faced regarding childcare arrangements (Garibay, Gilmartin, and Schaefer, 2002). Designed spaces that serve families should include consideration of visits by extended families. In another study, Basu and Calabrese Barton (2007) noted that educational environments must value the relationships that learners themselves value. Barron (2006) found that there is typically an adult somewhere in a child’s social network who has relevant knowledge and works with learners. This person may or may not be a parent. Developing peer networks may also be particularly important to foster sustained participation of nondominant groups in informal environments for science learning. In sum, an informal environment designed to serve particular cultural groups and communities should be developed and implemented with the interests and concerns of these groups in mind. Project goals should be mutually determined by educators and the communities and cultural groups they serve. It is also important to develop strategies that help learners identify with science in personally meaningful ways. Wong (2002) promotes “helping students experience the stories of individual scientists ‘as if’ they are the scientist and not the outside observers” (p. 396). DeBoer (1991) suggests that science education, “as all education, should lead to independent self-activity. It should empower individuals to think and to act. It should give individuals new ideas, and investigative skills that contribute to self-regulation, personal satisfaction, and social responsibility” (p. 240). Calabrese Barton (1998b) frames her analysis through pedagogical questions of representation in sci- ence (what science is made to be) and identity in doing science (who I think I must be to engage in that science). She comments: “Pedagogy involves the production of values and beliefs about how scientific knowledge is created and validated, as well as who we must be to engage in that process. . . . The way teachers choose to represent science to students leaves room for particular kinds of engagements, particular kinds of activities, and particular kinds of identities” (Calabrese-Barton, 1988b, p. 380). Ultimately construction of science in educational settings results from a teacher (or other adult) and learner collaboration in the process, a “joint act [that] is influenced by the kinds of connections [they] can make between their lives, experiences, values, beliefs, and science” (Calabrese-Barton, 1988b, p. 380). Studies in schools, out of schools, and in family contexts are beginning to examine how personal frameworks and identities in science can be influenced.

236 Learning Science in Informal Environments Gallagher and Hogan (2000, p. 108) suggest that “examining science- learning experiences that expand the boundaries of typical schooling gives new meaning to the term systemic educational reform when ‘the system’ embraces the community at large . . . [and] encourage[s] others to create, implement and systematically study models of intergenerational and com- munity-based science education. . . . Such inquiries have potential to pro- voke new thinking that could expand our field’s basic conceptions of what it means to learn and practice science.” CONCLUSION There is no cultureless or neutral perspective on learning or on science— no more than a photograph or painting could be without perspective. Science is a sociocultural activity; its practices and epistemological assumptions reflect the culture, cultural practices, and cultural values of its scientists. Diversity in the pool of scientists and science educators is critical. It will benefit science by providing new perspectives in research, and it will benefit science education by providing a better understanding of science. Informal environments for science learning are themselves embedded in cultural assumptions. People from nondominant cultural groups may tend to see these institutions as being owned and operated by the dominant cultural group. Furthermore, science may be broadly construed as an enterprise of the elite. Informal institutions concerned with science learning are making efforts to address inequity and encourage the participation of diverse communities. However, these efforts typically stop short of more fundamental and neces- sary changes to the organization of content and experiences to better serve diverse communities. Much more attention needs to be paid to the ways in which culture shapes knowledge, orientations, and perspectives. A deeper understanding is needed of the relations among cultural practices in families, practices preferred in informal settings for learning, and the cultural practices associated with science. The conceptions of what counts as science need to be examined and broadened in order to identify the strengths that those from nondominant groups bring to the field. We highlight two promising insights into how to better support science learning among people from nondominant backgrounds. First, informal environments for learning should be developed and implemented with the interests and concerns of community and cultural groups in mind: Project goals should be mutually determined by educators and the communities and cultural groups they serve. Second, the cultural variability of social structures should be reflected in educational design. For example, developing peer networks may be particularly important to foster sustained participation of nondominant groups. Designed spaces that serve families should include consideration of visits by extended families. More generally, environments should be developed in ways that expressly

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Informal science is a burgeoning field that operates across a broad range of venues and envisages learning outcomes for individuals, schools, families, and society. The evidence base that describes informal science, its promise, and effects is informed by a range of disciplines and perspectives, including field-based research, visitor studies, and psychological and anthropological studies of learning.

Learning Science in Informal Environments draws together disparate literatures, synthesizes the state of knowledge, and articulates a common framework for the next generation of research on learning science in informal environments across a life span. Contributors include recognized experts in a range of disciplines--research and evaluation, exhibit designers, program developers, and educators. They also have experience in a range of settings--museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, aquariums, zoos, state parks, and botanical gardens.

Learning Science in Informal Environments is an invaluable guide for program and exhibit designers, evaluators, staff of science-rich informal learning institutions and community-based organizations, scientists interested in educational outreach, federal science agency education staff, and K-12 science educators.

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