The Effect of Science Centres on Students Attitudes Towards Science

The study, carried out in Ankara, Turkey, examined the effect of Middle East Technical University's Science Centre (METU SC) on students' attitudes towards science. The sample consisted of 251 students. The age range of the students varied from 11 to 14. 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 and arranged to determine the impact of METU SC on sixth graders' attitudes towards science with respect to the six constructs of the attitude scale, namely ‘Learning science in school’, ‘Self-concept in school science’, ‘Practical work in school science’, ‘Science outside of school’, ‘Future participation in science’, and ‘Importance of science’. Design 2 was a weak experimental design and arranged to determine the impact of METU SC on students' overall attitudes towards science with respect to their gender, grade levels, and science achievement levels. The results of this study suggest that science centres might have high potential on increasing students' attitudes towards science in all dimensions of the attitude scale, except for ‘Practical work in school science’. Furthermore, this increase is independent of gender, science achievement, and grade levels. Also, considering that this achievement was accomplished in quite a short time, science centres can be used by educators as an effective way of increasing students' attitudes towards science.