Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Middle and Secondary Education
Curriculum and Instruction, PhD
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
informal science education; planetarium; student attitudes in planetariums; student learning in planetariums; student thinking in planetariums
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the planetarium on students while learning astronomy. The main goals of this study were to evaluate changes in students’ attitudes towards astronomy, whether students learned and retained more knowledge due to planetarium-enriched instruction, and how the planetarium helped students think about astronomical concepts. The framework that guided this study was the Contextual Model of Learning (CML) (Falk & Dierking, 1992; 2000), which includes three overlapping contexts that contribute to the overall learning experience in informal science venues - the personal, physical, and sociocultural contexts. The planetarium program was successful in reaching students in all three contexts of the CML, which contributed to students’ positive experiences during this study. The results of this study showed that the immersive environment and unique capabilities of a digital planetarium positively influenced students’ attitudes, learning, retention, and thinking. This study has important implications for planetariums, informal science education researchers, and schools.
Thornburgh, William Raymond, "The role of the planetarium in students' attitudes, learning, and thinking about astronomical concepts." (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2684.