Robotics and science literacy: Thinking skills, science process skills and systems understanding
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Journal of Research in Science Teaching, ISSN: 0022-4308, Vol: 45, Issue: 3, Page: 373-394
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- Social Sciences
This paper reports the results of a study of the relationship of robotics activity to the use of science literacy skills and the development of systems understanding in middle school students. Twenty-six 11-12-year-olds (22 males and 4 females) attending an intensive robotics course offered at a summer camp for academically advanced students participated in the research. This study analyzes how students utilized thinking skills and science process skills characteristic of scientifically literate individuals to solve a robotics challenge. In addition, a pre/post test revealed that course participants increased their systems understanding, t (21) = 22.47, p < .05. It is argued that the affordances of the robotics environment coupled with a pedagogical approach emphasizing open-ended, extended inquiry prompts the utilization of science literacy-based thinking and science process skills and leads to increased systems understanding. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.