Dissertation

Taking science to afterschool : supporting identity development for low-income Latino youth

This study was conducted to develop a deeper understanding of the role afterschool programs play in supporting science identity development for low-income Latino youth in California’s central valley. With over 4,000 afterschool programs operating in California and little research on what interests and engages Latino youth, this study sought to understand the environment, relationships, and pedagogy that does engage California’s majority group in learning science. Given the dismal opportunities California students have to engage in high quality science during school, this mixed methods study offers insight into how afterschool is an important setting that can influence identity development as a science minded person for elementary aged children. This research utilized focus groups interviews, observations, and surveys for eight sessions focused on air resistance and magnetism. Qualitative results revealed how students want to learn science, why it is important to keep learning, and why collaborative learning helps their learning. Quantitative results showed minimal changes in content learning and attitudes during the intervention.

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