Winter 2018 Update

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Project Overview:

The Super Science Squad is a research practice partnership between the University of California, Irvine and El Sol Science & Arts Academy in Santa Ana, CA. The aim is to engage youth of color, particularly girls, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in productive and meaningful ways through educational outreach and research. Components of educational outreach in this project include 1) executing weekly afterschool STEM programs for 5thgrade students, 2) volunteering weekly in the classrooms to provide instructional support, and 3) developing family engagement programs for students and the community.

Educational and Data Collection Activities:

Since the school year, we have implemented 14 two-hour afterschool sessions with a group of 20 fifth graders. For fall quarter students focused on the idea of energy as a chemical process (food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in a chemical process) and energy as a physical process (through shifts from potential to kinetic energy). Students then discussed what is the best way to use media to share what they have learned. Students produced two short film clips to share their what they have learned. The second quarter of educational activities has been focused on ecosystems anddevelop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. Students are currently describing an ecosystem they would like to focus on using multimedia practices. The aim is for in spring quarter for students to identify a problem in the ecosystem and engineer a solution.

Additionally, we will be implementing a Family Science Night at the school I am at where families come together to build a robotic drone. There are four outcomes of Family Science Night where families will (1) be able to design a drone that flies, (2) be able to communicate their improvements in the design in a collaborative manner, (3) be able to test out ways to how to improve a drone to fly better, and (4) be able to engage in the engineering design cycle where they will design, build, and test their drones.

Preliminary Research Findings:

The first research activity is a manuscript that describes how activist scholarship is leveraged in research practice partnerships in educational reform. Below is an abstract of the submitted manuscript.

Activist scholarship research aims to expand our understanding of a phenomenon as well as create change. The implications of activist scholarship address public issues, such as educational reform, in order to create an agenda to advance knowledge and become politically engaged. Research practice partnerships offer opportunities for researchers, practioners, and activists to engage in activist scholarship to make direct social change. I argue for a shift in engaging in research with research practice partners that develop trust with a genuine interest of giving back, collaborate to aims to decolonize power dynamics, and engage in joint knowledge production to both generate theories of learning and improve systems of education.

The second research activity is securing additional funding for undergraduate researchers to participate in the undergraduate research opportunities program. A total of $1400 was secured by three undergraduate researchers. The purpose of this study is to document and understand how students develop their engagement with their peers, afterschool educators, and teachers. The research questions are (1) How does the way the students perceive their identity and resources influence their interactions and behavioral participation with other students and adults? And (2) How do the materials and structures of a classroom enable opportunities to foster high levels of behavioral engagement? Four preliminary findings emerge from the analysis. Findings show that (1) increase in peer to peer interaction, created more opportunity to pay attention to the assignment, due to the focus on conversation among peers, (2) when there was more conversing happening amongst the students, there were not as many opportunity for them to not pay attention to the assignment because they were focused on keeping up with the conversation, (3) an increase in peer to undergraduate studentinteraction, influences a decrease in peer to peer collaboration, and (4) interaction influenced heavily on personality of students.

The third research activity focuses on the design aspect of the afterschool club. I turn to conjecture mapping (see Figure 1) to be able to identify the design features of an afterschool STEM program support leveraging and recognizing the resources of Latina girls to develop a sense of self in STEM. The high-level conjecture I make is developing a sense of self in STEM and deep and meaningful engagement in STEM, which is the phenomenon of my dissertation. Design conjectures or design principles takes the form of how students engage in an activity where a mediating process will occur. These embodied principles include the two types of resources: the resources of the learning environment and the rich cultural and diverse resources Latinas carry with them within these settings. The mediating process may arise from observable interactions which our ethnographic and video data capture and the salient identity artifacts that occur through meaningful STEM engagement. Mediating processes include generating identity resources, engaging in local community practices and hybrid spaces.

Current Data Analysis and Collection: There are many ongoing analyses occurring based on my own research questions and the research questions of undergraduate researchers. A description of 5 analyses are described below.

Identity Survey.A total of 100 surveys focusing on attitudes and beliefs about STEM, recognition in STEM, and how they see their future selves in STEM was collected. Descriptive analysis is currently being conducted. Post measures will be collected in Spring.

Co-Researchers: Algrae Gorospe, Pamela Garcia, Vanessa Comia, and David Liu

Design of the Family Science Night. Data is being collected on the design of the afterschool club. The aim is to be able to design afterschool programs and generate a conjecture map (see Figure 1) to describe the design principles and theoretical conjectures.

Co-Researchers: Algrae Gorospe, Pamela Garcia, Carlos Henriquez, and David Liu

Perceptions of Early Childhood Education. The purpose of this project isto describe how educators and parents perceive the impact of early childhood education (ECE), specifically preschool. The research questions are: (1) what are the perceptions of benefits of ECE among educators and parents? (2) What are the disconnections and connections between the perceptions of ECE? And (3) how are these connections and disconnections framing the importance of ECE?

Lead Researcher: Pamela Garcia

Co Researcher: David Liu

Healthy Behavior Engagement in Low Income Children.The research questions for this project is to answer (1) What do low income kids understand to be a healthy behavior and where do they engage in these behaviors? and (2) How does engagement, whether it be the behavior or extent of practicing the behavior, change depending on the setting they are in?

Lead Researcher: Tessa Pulido

Co Researcher: David Liu

Dual Language Immersions in Science Learning.The research questions for this project is to answer (1)How effective are DLI programs in assisting ELLs in adapting to their new environment, such as adapting to classroom norms and tools, while learning the English language? (2) Do DLI programs reduce incidences of exclusion experienced by ELLs from native English speakers?

Lead Researcher: Lulu Galido

Co Researcher: David Liu

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