New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Engaging Biology Students through Informal Summer Field Experiences

Antonios Pappantoniou, Housatonic Community College (United States)




Informal education occurs outside the confines of the classroom and frequently involves collaboration between formal institutions of learning and organizations such as museums, zoos, aquariums and nature centers. This paper describes a collaborative effort between Housatonic Community College and the Connecticut Audubon Society (USA). The focus of this collaboration is a longitudinal study of the Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta from a pond in the Roy and Margot Larsen Sanctuary of the Connecticut Audubon Society. The primary goal of the experience is to have students design and execute a field study of the Painted Turtle. Students learn techniques of sampling and collecting the type of data a biologist would require for assessing a population of animals. Math skills such as basic descriptive statistics and graphing are also part of the learned skill set. In addition to these tangible and measurable skills students also take away intangibles such as a sense of responsibility by arriving at the project site in a consistent and timely manner and cooperative skills by working together as a cohesive team.

KeywordsInformal education, field experiences;


[1] Dierking, L. D., Falk, J. H., Rennie, L., Anderson, D. & Ellenbogen, K. Policy statement of the “informal science education“ ad hoc committee. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 2003,108-11.
[2] National Science Teachers Association. An NSTA Position Statement Learning Science in Informal
[3] Yager, R.E. and Falk, J.H. editors. Exemplary Science in Informal Education Settings. Standards-Based Success Stories. Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association Press; 2008.




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