In our analysis of family group data, one of the treatment groups showed significant improvement in time spent at exhibits, coherence of investigation, frequency of interpreting results of investigations, and collaborative explanation building as compared to the control groups as well as to the other treatment condition. The greatest gains came in families that learned the more structured, collaborative Inquiry Game (called Juicy Question). Participants in all conditions enjoyed their experience, varied in what they liked and disliked, and reported applying what they had learned at new exhibits.
Results from the field trip group data were similar to those found with family groups. Field trip groups that learned the inquiry games significantly outperformed the control groups in the duration and quality of several inquiry skills when using a novel exhibit, with effect sizes ranging from 0.3σ to 0.8σ. As before, the highest gains came from the Inquiry Game which was structured and collaborative (Juicy Question), rather than spontaneous and individualized. Students and chaperones in all conditions reported enjoying the experience.
Qualitative analysis of both family and field trip groups suggested that the collaborative inquiry game was superior because it required all family members to participate, work together and explicitly articulate their interpretations.
Gutwill, J. P., & Allen, S. (2010). Group Inquiry at Science Museum Exhibits: Getting Visitors to Ask Juicy Questions. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press.
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles:
Gutwill, J. P., & Allen, S. (in press). Deepening students’ scientific inquiry skills during a science museum field trip. Journal of the Learning Sciences.
Gutwill, J. P., & Allen, S. (2010). Facilitating Family Group Inquiry at Science Museum Exhibits. Science Education, 94(4), 710-742.
Allen, S., & Gutwill, J. P. (2009). Creating a program to deepen family inquiry at interactive science exhibits. Curator, 52(3), 289-306.