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The effect of science centres on students' attitudes towards science

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2009
Şentürk, Eray
The purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of Middle East Technical University’s Science Centre (METU SC) on students’ attitudes towards science. The sample (N=251) consisted of 131 males (52.2%) and 120 females (47.8%). The age range of the students varied from 11 to 14 (M=12.71, SD=0.80). The attitude scale was administered before, immediately after, and one week after a visit to METU SC. Because of the limitations on sampling procedure two different research designs were used. Design 1 was a quasi-experimental design (46 students in experimental group, 46 students in control group) and attempted to determine the impact of METU SC on 6th graders’ attitudes towards science with respect to six constructs of the attitude scale. Design 2 was a weak experimental design (N=159) and attempted to determine the impact of METU SC on students’ overall attitudes towards science with respect to their gender, grade levels, and science achievement scores. The results of this study suggest that METU SC has high potential on increasing middle school students’ attitudes toward science in several dimensions. Furthermore, this increase is independent from gender, science achievement, and grade levels. Also considering that this achievement was accomplished in quite a short time (approximately one hour), science centres can be used by educators as an effective way of increasing students’ attitudes toward science.