Views of Science as Represented in Urban Schoolchildren's Photographs

John Settlage


This article describes how third graders' photographs were used to assess the influence of hands-on science instruction within an urban classroom. The photos and individual interviews were used to assess: 1) what the students perceived was included and involved with science; 2) how the students connected their school science experiences to their daily lives; and, 3) how the students used their cameras to capture and represent their ideas. The data showed that students were able to connect many aspects of the science content with events outside of school. However, perhaps as a consequence of the task, the students rarely showed science as a way of knowing but often as technology (e.g., electronic devices). Providing children cameras so they can represent their ideas proved to be an important research and assessment strategy.

About the author...

John Settlage is an associate professor of science education at Cleveland State University. The location of his institution has allowed him to become extensively involved with local urban school systems, affording him the opportunity to conduct research such as that presented here. Prior to working in Cleveland, John was a Senior Research Associate at TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He earned his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Missouri--Columbia under the guidance of Lloyd Barrow. He teaches science education courses at the graduate and undergraduate level and has recently begun teaching research methodology courses to Master's and Doctoral students. He lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio with his wife, Sue Stephens, and Sonya, their Siberian Husky.


Science; Education; Photographs

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