Including parents in classroom science nights

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


The purpose of this study was to engage parents within the classroom in order to minimize any discomfort parents feel when at or communicating with the school and staff. In order to do this, parents were invited to attend monthly classroom science nights with their families. Each night, a science expert presented to the families and followed the presentation up with some sort of hands-on learning experience. Parents as well as children were encouraged to participate in this treatment, and the resulting environment was informal. As more parents began to participate and word began to spread, I was approached by far more parents than ever before in my career, asking about the next science night. Parents seemed quite at ease when talking to me, and several still seek me out even after the treatment to say hello at school functions. I was able to determine that science nights do help contribute to parent comfort at school by comparing responses to several attitude survey questions from before the treatment to responses after. Most parents changed their answers to the survey item, "The school and staff are easy to talk to and knowledgeable regarding science," from neutral or agree on the pre-treatment survey to agree and strongly agree on the post-treatment survey. The key words in this survey item are "easy to talk to." If I have become easier to talk to as a teacher, the purpose of this study has been fulfilled.




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