Research publications about MyScience

… a primary school science & technology program, which supports primary teachers and their students to think and work scientifically.

Primary students work in teams (pairs or threes), with mentor support, to answer a scientific question of their choosing - hence the name 'My'Science.

Science expertise is sourced through local Mentors* & MySTics** who provide in-class, face-to-face support to small groups of students.

Teachers, students and mentors learn because of their participation in a COMMUNITY OF SCIENCE PRACTICE.

MyScience Objectives are listed in the drop-down menu BELOW.

* Adults with science expertise
** MySTics = MyScience Trainees in the Classroom = Year 9/10/11 science students

… when the following 3 elements are in place:

1) DOMAIN = specific topic/activity/process of interest for members,
2) COMMUNITY = the members who interact around the DOMAIN.
3) PRACTICE = what the COMMUNITY do when they come together around the DOMAIN.

MyScience CoPs have the following elements:
1) DOMAIN = Working Scientifically,
2) COMMUNITY = teachers, students & mentors,
3) PRACTICE = interactions between members when doing MyScience.

SUCCESSFUL CoPs have the following:
• facilitator/champion,
• clearly articulated domain,
• willingness to participate,
• members with different types of expertise,
• collegial sharing of ideas and knowledge,
• appreciation of other members’ roles and efforts.

• The 2010 research paper reports on the History and Development of MyScience, the underpinning Educational Model, and some preliminary research findings at that time.

• The paper reference is:

Forbes, A. & McCloughan, G. (2010). Increasing student participation in science investigations in primary schools: The MyScience initiative. Teaching Science, 56(2), 24–30.

• The full article is available through the button '2010 Research Paper' below. The article has been extracted from Teaching Science 56.2 for which full copyright belongs to the Australian Science Teachers Association. For more information or to subscribe please visit www.asta.edu

• The 2013 research paper reports on the views of participating PROFESSIONAL SCIENTISTS and ENGINEERS.

• The paper reference is:

Forbes, A. & Skamp, K. (2013). Knowing and learning about science in primary school ‘Communities of Science Practice’: The views of participating scientists in the MyScience initiative. Research in Science Education, 43(2), 1005-1028. doi: 10.1007/s11165-012-9295-0

• The paper abstract is available via the button '2013 Research Paper' below and the final publication is available at link.springer.com

• If you would like a copy of the final article send an email request through 'Contact Us' in the TOP menu.

The 2014 research paper reports on the views of participating PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS.

• The paper reference is:

Forbes, A. & Skamp, K. (2014). “Because we weren’t actually teaching them, we thought they weren’t learning”: Primary teacher perspectives from the MyScience initiative. Research in Science Education, 44(1), 1-25. doi: 10.1007/s11165-013-9367-9

• The paper abstract is available via the button '2014 Research Paper' below and the final publication is available at link.springer.com

• If you would like a copy of the final article send an email request through 'Contact Us' in the TOP menu.

The 2016 research paper reports on the views of participating SECONDARY SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHERS and SECONDARY SCHOOL SCIENCE STUDENTS

• The paper reference is:

Forbes, A. & Skamp, K. (2016). Secondary science teachers’ and students’ involvement in a primary school community of science practice: How it changed their practices and interest in science. Research in Science Education, 46(1), 91-112. doi: 10.1007/s11165-014-9457-3

• The paper abstract is available via the button '2016 Research Paper' below and the final publication is available at link.springer.com

Publication details:
Forbes, G.A. (2014). 'MyScience : communities of practice around the teaching and learning of primary science', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Select the 'PhD thesis' button below to link to download a pdf copy (16.6 mB)

2016 Research Project

Project Partner Organisations

The title of the research project is:
Great Teaching and Inspired Learning Though Community of Practice Partnerships

The MyScience Research Project offers opportunities for participating teachers, students and mentors to be part of an exciting and innovative study that aims to understand ways to improve science education in primary and secondary schools. A consortium of three NSW educational organisations funds the project: BOSTES, CEC and DoE, with research support through ACU’s IPPE.*

* BOSTES = Board of Studies, Teaching & Educational Standards; CEC = Catholic Education Commission NSW; DoE = NSW Department of Education; ACU = Australian Catholic University; IPPE = Institute for Positive Psychology & Education.

Current research shows that Australian science students are not achieving as well as those in other developed countries and that we have fewer students choosing to study science in Years 11 and 12. As a result Australia now has a national shortage of science-related professionals. To address these issues, our research aims to run a 10 week ‘MyScience’ program in primary schools that is designed to increase their interest, enjoyment, and knowledge of science by working with their class teacher, high school science teachers and students, and professional scientists from the local community. High school teachers, students, and professional scientists serve as mentors to the primary students. Research data is collected from all participants and used to understand if MyScience is effective in addressing some of the current issues with science education in schools.

HUBS of schools from both CEC and DoE primary and secondary schools (in 4 NSW locations) will be researched:
• Each HUB = 2 primary schools + 1 secondary school from the same sector;
• Each primary school identifies 2 teachers (and their students) in Years 5 or 6;
• Each primary school is randomly allocated to an Experimental Group (E) or a Control Group (C) of schools;
• E schools will do MyScience in Term 1 2016;
• C schools will do their normal science and technology program in Term 1 2016, and MyScience in Term 3 2016;
• Teachers and students will have professional support to implement MyScience;
• Each secondary school identifies at least one Science teacher and 10-15 Year 9/10/11 Science students as mentors;
• Mentors will visit each MyScience primary school for 3 x 90 minute visits, approx. 1-3 weeks apart (in Terms 1 & 3 2016);
• Mentors will be professionally trained.

The research components are as follows:

• Primary teachers = 2 x online survey (pre & post) + student rating
• Primary students = 3 x online survey (pre, post & delayed post)
• Secondary teachers = 2 x online survey (pre & post) + interview
• Secondary students = 2 x online survey (pre & post) + interview

Serving as a future model for other Australian schools, this project aims to equip teachers and students with the skills and knowledge to solve scientific problems. The research aim is to improve our understanding of the factors that influence the development of science knowledge and understanding, and how these factors contribute to students’ and teachers’ views of science. By improving our understanding of these factors, this research may facilitate a positive change in the way that science education is implemented in schools, leading to collaborative models where research organisations, businesses and high schools work with local primary schools to improve science education outcomes.

Click on the relevant button below, for a link to the proposed timeline.

BOSTES
BOSTES supports the MyScience project with its focus on engaging students in science and technology and fostering the development of knowledge and skills from a young age. MyScience is aligned with the NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum: Science and Technology K-6 and uses a collaborative classroom-based coaching and mentoring framework which promotes professional collaboration models endorsed in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. In addition to the opportunities for enhanced student learning outcomes the program also provides opportunities that support teachers to meet the requirements of the professional engagement domain of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

CEC
The NSW Catholic sector has shown interest in the MyScience approach for some time with teachers, schools and dioceses engaging with the program. These connections have shown the benefit of the MyScience methodology whereby a more systemic approach and further research has transpired. With the support of NSW Catholic Education Commission (CECNSW) a systematic research project will enable MyScience to be analysed as to the specific benefits for young leaners. CECNSW is excited to be joining with the Department of Education NSW, The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards and the Australian Catholic University in a partnership to both progress the use of MyScience in schools and to gather research data to support the consideration of broader implementation.

DoE
The NSW Department of Education supports recent state and national efforts to focus attention on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related subjects and skills, emerging as a crucial area of need for the continued prosperity of Australia. There is broad governmental support for STEM at both state and federal levels and NSW government schools and teachers will be supported with programs and strategies to enhance teaching and learning of STEM skills. The research to test and evaluate the implementation of the MyScience program will advance primary teachers’ confidence and capacity in science and technology pedagogy and assist communities of schools to improve the transition of students from primary to secondary schooling. The Department is very interested in investigating how well MyScience can be implemented in a range of geolocations including in rural communities.

IPPE
Australia is currently faced with two major issues in science education: (1) the low scores of Australian students compared to other developed countries, and (2) the decline in students choosing to study science in the non-compulsory years of schooling leading to national shortages of science-related professionals. The first issue concerns cognitive academic processes in science education, whereas the second issue is related to students' motivation, attitude, and engagement in science. The MyScience project aims to address these issues through advancing primary teachers’ confidence and capacity around science and technology through involvement in communities of science practice leading to enhanced student learning outcomes. The underpinning educational model involves volunteer mentors with science expertise who work closely with primary students on authentic scientific investigations. We believe that MyScience offers an important context (STEM education) within which we can combine IPPE’s research expertise with Dr Forbes’ PhD findings related to MyScience to determine critical success factors in science education.