2011. Vol. 2, No. 1, 1-9
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. DOI:10.4236/ce.2011.21001
Investigating Science Concepts in the Museum Like
Nihal Doğan1, Seda Çavuş1, Savaş Güngören2
1 Faculty of Education, Abant İzzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey;
2Faculty of Education, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.
Received July 23rd, 2010; revised January 19th, 2011; accepted January 29th, 2011.
In this research, the impacts of school trips on learning science subjects are studied with colorful science cards
and a writing activity. These trips are aimed to be made in the informal learning environments such as Science
and Technology Museums. In total, 34 pre-service teachers (21 female and 13 male) participated in this research.
The trip was made to the Rahmi Koç Museum in Istanbul and before this trip, the participants were given some
concepts and questions which were written on colourful cards in order to search in the museum regarding
Science and Technology. After the field trip, they were asked to write and present an explanatory essay
including the knowledge that they found about the questions and concepts written on the colorful science cards.
At the end of this study, Activity Evaluation Scale, of which Cronbach’s α coefficient is 0.78, is applied in order
to evaluate the participants’ efficiency in colorful science cards and the writing activity. According to the results,
nearly all the participants stated that colorful science card activity was like treasure hunting and they found it
quite enjoyable and didactic. In addition to this, the majority of the participants also stated that with the help of
the essay writing which is performed after the trip, they learned how to summarize the knowledge they got dur-
ing the trip, how to put their thoughts in order and associate the key thoughts which are defined in each subject,
that is they learned how to organize the knowledge and how to arrange them.
Keywords: Informal Learning, Writing to Learn, Science Teaching, Museum Education
Human acquires various knowledge, skills and attitudes by
himself through education, experience and trainings, which can
be used in order to adapt to the rapid changes of the scientific
and technological world. Education plays a very important role
in the construction of the modern societies and to develop con-
sciousness about the interactions between science and technol-
ogy, as in the most developing countries. Education represents
two main forms: formal and non-formal education, the latter
includes the informal education (Demirel ve Kaya, 2003; Fidan
ve Erden, 1993; Gelen, 2005; Gültekin, 2005; Şişman, 2006).
Formal education; is described as teacher-centered, pre-
arranged education in the frame of a definite goal and program
and it is affiliated to an institution. These are graded learning
environments in which students are concerned about their
marks and evaluation is done at the end of it (Bozdoğan, 2007;
Demirel ve Kaya, 2003; Fidan ve Erden, 1993; Gelen, 2005;
Gültekin, 2005; Marsick ve Watkins, 2001; Şişman, 2006;
On the other hand, informal education does not include any
plan or program; so, random learning occurs and individuals
learn unconsciously through the interactions they have in a
group and the situations they expose to (Alsop &Watts, 1997;
Bozdoğan, 2007; Eshach, 2007; Fidan & Erden, 1993; Marsick &
Watkins, 2001; Wellington, 1990). The informal education,
which is also defined as natural education, occurs when new
knowledge is added to the present knowledge. The new
knowledge is discovered by the interaction of the individual
with the environment or it is acquired spontaneously (Tezcan,
1992). Learning with formal education has considerably
structured characteristics. As for informal education; the learn-
ings during the informal education has less structured charac-
teristics except planned informal education activities than for-
mal education and learning shifts its direction from the teacher
to the student (Gerber et al., 2001).
In spite of the fact that formal and informal education are
put forward as different facts, these two concepts should not be
perceived as opposite and independent from each other. In
traditional education system, from the time we were born to the
formal education age in cognitive meaning, the knowledge and
skills we acquire by informal ways both in family and in social
environments prepare us to formal education. Formal and
informal educations are complementary structures like the
pieces of a puzzle (Demirel & Kaya, 2003). In different studies,
it is stated that the field trips which are performed within the
formal education, such as museums, aquariums, parks and sci-
ence centres make the learning more effective (Bozdoğan, 2007;
Rennie and Johnston, 2004). Also in many other studies, it is
defined that the lessons which are made outdoor of the school,
improve the students’ cognitive, social and emotional character-
istics (Gerber, Cavallo & Marek, 2001). Informal environmen ts
such as museums and science centres contribute to the learning
quite a lot. Informal education deals with new topics and subject
matters in Turkey. Science education and curriculum developers
should give special attention to the use of informal environments
to improve our students’ and teachers’ knowledge and attitude
towards science.For this reason, informal environments as in
many countries, should be cared much more as an education
policy in Turkey and in newly changing science and technology
N. DOĞAN ET AL.
teaching programs. The revisions should be done by taking
informal environments and their contributions into considerat-
Museum and Education
In many developed countries, “museums” and “science
centres” are considered as the most efficient environments for
formal education. When their historical development is
examined, the basic goal for their establisment is “education”.
Museums provide lifelong efficient and active learning opportu-
nities. International Council of Museums (ICOM) has published
an issue named as “Ethics for Museums” in 2006; and in this
issue, the social aspect of museums is defined as:
“A non-profitmaking, permanent institution in the service of
society and its development, and open to the public, which ac-
quires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for
purposes of study, education and enjoyment, material evidence
of people and their environment.”
Besides their responsibilities as archiving, collecting, safe-
guarding and displaying various objects and cultural inheri-
tance, museums take their place in society as educational and
research institutions bearing the responsibilities of research and
education (Bozdoğan, 2007). Today, it is moved away from
traditional education, thus in addition to archiving and display-
ing many kinds of objects, museums are seen as the identity of
informal education institutions, as well (Çildir, 2007).
When we look through history: the concept of “museum”
began with making the present collections available for public
viewing through exhibits. Then, after the social and cultural
alterations in the Middle Age, museums again showed up
themselves with Renaissance in which everyhing was collected
about the nature and earth by discovering new continents
(Tezcan Akahmet & Ödekan, 2006). “The Age of Enlightenm-
ent” which began in France and the social mission of French
Revolution became the initial point of public-oriented
educational goals of museums. In England, where school
education newly developed in 19th century, adult and child
education was inadequate, so museums were seen as the places
where people could get self-education (Hein, 2006). Educa-
tional theorists (e.g. Comenius and J. Dewey) emphasized the
importance of learners’ active participation and their interaction
with the objects on learning; so, this would rise the substantial
importance of education that occured in museums (Tezcan
Akahmet & Ödekan, 2006).
The increasing scientific and technological knowledge from
the 20th century until today has affected the understanding of
museums, as well. After 1950s, the rapid technical advance-
ments in “Industrial Society” provided the development of
interactive science museums, and after 1960s, these positive
innovations in science museums have gained progress. “The
Exploratorium” in San Francisco and “The Ontario Science
Centre” in Toronto which took place in 1969, included
exhibitions where learning occured with experiments. Besides
teaching the knowledge and scientific principles which took
place in school curriculum, these science centres enabled the
learning of technological knowledge as biology, medicine,
astronomy and space with interactive moduls.
In recent years, museum education has gained importance in
Turkey. Until 1990s, the role of museum in education took
place only in governmental programs. It was mentioned in
various meetings and seminars. According to these, various
proposals and decisions were introduced; but, these are not
applied (Tezcan Akahmet & Ödekan, 2006). In the following
years, master programs were founded in universities to make an
academic ground for this field and “museum education” context
was constituted by researches. Also, several studies were started
by some associations in order to establish science and technol-
ogy museums. The Ministry of Education prepared a connec-
tive study in 2008 which include “museum and education”
frame into the associated subjects of the school programs and
this frame is now applied in primary schools with related
school subjects. According to this study, adequate explanations
were introduced according to the acquisitions of the lessons as
Turkish, Mathematics, Social Studies, Knowledge of Life (Life
Sciences) and Science and Technology lessons. The aim of this
study was to associate formally presented traditional education
with activities that took place in museums and other informal
The major science and technology centres in Turkey are;
Rahmi M. Koç Industrial Museum, Şişli Science Centre,
Deneme Science Centre in İstanbul; Feza Gürsey Science
Centre, Energy Park, METU Science and Technology Museum
in Ankara. As it is seen above, although Turkey has 81 cities,
the number of Science and Technology Museums are limited.
We have accomplished our study in Rahmi M. Koç Industrial
Museum in Istanbul. This museum first opened its doors to
visitors in 1994 and took its current condition with the addings
to the building in 2001 and 2007. It is devoted to transportation,
industry and communication history and it is different from the
classic exhibition museums; it has a different museum
understanding that people can touch the objects in there. The
collection contains 8.000 objects. The museum has 9 depart-
ments including motorway transportation, railway transporta-
tion, aviation, naval, engineering, communication, scientific
tools, try and learn models, and toys (Figure 1). The objects in
these departments came from all over the world and they are
grouped systematically and displayed chronologically. These
exhibitions not only provide people the opportunity to observe
and examine the historical development of scientific and tech-
nological advancements tangibly, but also enable them to learn
by strengthening their knowledge in the exhibition activities
which take place in try and learn moduls and enjoy all these.
Many researches stated that the number of trips to history
museums or science and technology museums were quite low
in Turkey (Bozdoğan, 2007; Bozdoğan & Yalcin, 2006). It is
thought that physical impossibilities prevent these kinds of
activities (Çıldır, 2007; Güleç & Alkış, 2003). The visitors
generally visit these places with school trips. The number of
“Science and Technology Museums” and “Science Centres” are
so few and the available ones are in big cities, so these are two
reasons of the low visit numbers to these places. The teaching
programs changed in Turkey in 2004; however, the traditional
formal education is still going on in school buildings and,
museum education is not being done with essential importance.
The impact of different activities on science teaching and
participants’ attitudes in informal environments are studied in
this research. Also, it is aimed in this study to introduce the
museums to the pre-service teachers and show this study as a
sample model to get the most efficient benefit from informal
environments. It is thought that this study will provide the re-
N. DOĞAN ET AL. 3
Some examples of objects on display in the Rahmi M. Koç Industrial Museum in Istanbul.
Analysis of Attitude
Context of the current study.
quired attention for science teaching in museums in Turkey.
How the data was collected? (Figure 2)
The sample for this study consisted of 34 preservice teachers
from Turkey. The 21 of them were females and 13 of them
were males , and they were sophomores in Elementary Science
Education Department of the University.
Data Collecting Tools
The participants completed this scale two times; before and
after the trip to Rahmi Koç Museum to determine the changes
in their attitudes towards Science lesson. Attitude Scale is
comprised of likert type scale, which has acceptable Cronbach's
alpha (α = 73) coefficient (Geban et al., 1994; Bozdoğan, 2007).
The items in the scale are five-point scale (0-5), with the total
possible score being 5 points. Attitude scale includes 25 de-
clarative statements and 5 options as “Strongly disagree”, “Agree
somewhat”, “Agree”, “Quite agree” and “Strongly agree”, and it
is assigned numbers from 1 to 5. The individuals’ proportions
to agree with the items are; “In scoring the students’ answers,
the scores for positive items are considered as: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and
for the negative items as: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1”. With this procedure,
scores may range from 25 to 125; the higher score indicates a
more positive attitude about science and the role of field trip.
The Questionnaire of Views about Museums:
The participants’ opinions about Science and Technology
Museums were examined two times; before and after the trip to
Rahmi Koç Museum with “The Questionnaire of Views about
Museums” which included 11 open-ended questions.
Scientific Concept Cards:
The small colorful cards were given to participants before the
Views of science and
N. DOĞAN ET AL.
trip to the Rahmi Koç Museum in Istanbul. Some scientific
concepts and questions were written on these cards, and the
participants were asked to search them in the museum. Some of
the concepts that were written on the cards are below:
Why was the front wheel bigger in the first made
How is the atmospheric pressure adjusted in the planes?
It was expected from participants to collect information about
these concepts and write an explanatory essay about them. The
participants were divided into groups including 3 or 4 students
and they are asked to search these concepts in the museum. The
groups found the related departments in the museum according
to their concepts and questions in their cards and they got the
detailed information from the person who was responsible for
that department. It was expected from the participants to discuss
the concepts or the questions in their cards within their groups
and write an informative essay about them and then, the groups
presented their essays to the class.
The opinions of the participants on the writing activity and
science cards were tried to be put forward with semistruc-
The data was collected in different steps. The contribution of
museums on teacher education is examined in this study.
Beside this, the impact of the science cards and writing activity
on learning science and technology concepts which were
applied in this kind of field trips were also evaluated. In this
study, none of the participants had ever been in Rahmi Koç
Museum in Istanbul.
Step 1: In order to study whether or not the trip affects the
pre-service teachers’ attitudes and opinions, the “Attitude
Scale” and “The Questionnaire of Views about Museums” are
applied twice, before and after the trip.
Step 2: After the trip, “Semi-Structured Interview” is done to
put forward the pre-service teachers’ detailed opinions about
Step 3: ‘Activity Assessment Scale’ is applied to receive the
participants’ opinions on science cards, which help them to
learn different concepts that they come across in the museum,
and to implement the writing activity afterwards.
Attitude Scale: In data analysis, Paired samples t-test analysis
is used to define whether there is any difference in terms of
attitudes before and after the pre-service teachers’ trip to Rahmi
Koç Museum. According to the paired samples t-test results,
the trip affects the pre-service teachers’ (p < 0.05) attitudes
considerably in statistical meaning (Table 1). These differences
between pre-test and post-test attitude scales are in the positive
The Questionnaire of Views about Museums: According
to the results of ‘The Questionnaire of Views about Museums’,
the participants gave almost the same answers for the questions
about museums, science and technology before and after the
museum trip; so, it is concluded that area trip does not affect
pre-service teachers’ opinions about museums. In the following,
some of the questions at “The Questionnaire of Views about
Museums and the answers of participants” that are given.
The question is “What is museum?” and 90% of the particip-
ants replied as:
- Museums are interesting places and they provide learning.
They are also the places where cultural heritage is preserved
and the objects about science and technology are exhibited.
- They are the places where culture and knowledge are
transfered with experience and joy. The exhibition area of
different and diverse cultures. The places where people have a
chance to socialize.
- A central body which unites theoretical knowledge with
The question is “When did you do your last museum visit?”
According to the answers, 70.59% of participants replied this
question as they have never been to a museum. The 29.41% of
them replied as they have been to a museum; however, 8.82%
of them attended with their family and 20.59% of them
attended with school trips in secondary school or in high school.
The mesums that they have visited are public museums as Ha-
gia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and Museum of Anatolian
Civilizations and also the War Museum in the Atatürk’s (the
founder of Turkish Republic) Mausoleum. The majority of the
participants (85%) stated that they like the department where
old and modern technologies are displayed, because this place
enables the comparison of old and modern technologies. As it
can be seen from the results, museum visiting with family is
The question is “What is science?”. 85% of the participants
stated that it is an instrument which eases people’s lives. Three
students replied this question different from their friends. One
of them defined it as the sub-branch of philosophy, the other
defined it as the unit of methodologies. However, the third stu-
dent defined it as an explanation of human activity in nature
with the relations among disciplines. It is a gladsome result that
this student has a post-positivist approach.
Another question is “What was the most conceptual thing or
what was the most thought provoking thing for you In Rahmi
Koç Museum?” and “Why is this so?” As an answer to this
The Paired samples t-test results of Participants’ Pre-test and Post-test Attitude Scales.
N X S sd T p
Attitude Pre-test 34 101.9231 10.01 33 2.43 0.02
Attitude Post-test 34 106.4615 9,79
N. DOĞAN ET AL. 5
question, the participants stated that the rapid development of
technology is very impressive. It becomes very significant that
all the participants see the changeability of scientific knowledge
Next question is “What is technology?” 100% of the
participants stated that they are the studies which make people’s
Another question is “Do you follow the news about science
and technology and museums?” If your answer is “Yes” then
“What is your news source?” The majority of pre-service
teachers (89%) replied this question as they followed the news
about science and technology via internet, TV and newspapers,
but they did not have any information about museums and they
stated that this trip was their first scientific museum trip.
Pre-service teachers stated the reasons of low visiting rates in
museums as in the following:
Inadequate information about museums,
Ignorance towards museums among the society,
Difficulties in arrival to museums and economic impossi-
Inadequate publicity of museums,
Museum education is not included in the curriculum of
primary and secondary schools,
Science centres are only situated in 3 big cities of 81 cit-
Teachers are unconscious and irrelevant in this subject,
The role of museums in science education is not clearly
explained to the teachers or pre-service teachers.
People, especially teachers, are scared of taking respons-
ibility for this kind of museum trips.
The last question is “Has this trip affected your relations with
your friends positively or negatively?” Three of the participants
stay neutral, however 88.23% of the participants express posi-
tive statements. The participants’ answers are given in the fol-
It has affected positively.
Socializing has increased in the class.
We had a chance to know our friends closely.
We had fun.
It enabled us to listen and understand each other.
In this study, semistructured interviews are analyzed in order
to learn the participants’ opinions about science card activity
which they had during the museum trip, and the writing activity
afterwards with the group or individually. The participants’
answers were read several times and various themes were con-
structed from them. Especially it was emphasized that how
participants perceived colorful cards and writing activity and
what were their opinions on the usage of them in the museum;
after these, the themes were constructed accordingly. The
themes which are formed as a result of the semi-structured inter-
view and the codes under these themes are turned to a table.
Some of the questions and the code tables can be seen below as
QUESTION 1: Can you evaluate the science-card activity
during the museum trip positively or negatively?
The majority of the participants stated that card activity has
positive effects on the informal learning environments. (Table
2). These positive effects are; learning with realizing and
focusing on even the unattractive things and increasing the
curiosity. Beside these, they emphasized that, in order to find
the science card concepts, they had a chance to examine
everything in details in the museum and science centre.
QUESTION 2: Can you evaluate the didactic writing activity
with your group or individually before and after the trip?
It is stated by all the participants that the writing activity
after the trip regarding the questions or the concepts that are
searched by them during the trip, is “informative”. Besides this,
it is emphasized that the writing activity is an important
The Frequencies of the codings regarding science card activity.
Codings Frequency (N:5)
1 Enables calculated research. 1
2 Conscious learning takes place. 4
3 Increases curiosity. 1
4 Turns even the most unattractive things into a focal point. 2
5 Enables detailed research. 3
6 I perceived it as a homework. 1
Frequency codings regarding writing activity.
Coding Frequency (N:5)
1 Enables learning 5
2 Entertaining 2
3 Enables inter-discipline among concepts 1
4 Improves imagination 1
5 Improves creativity 3
6 Makes use of the most basic principles (foreknowledge) 2
7 Improves writing skills 1
8 Improves self- expression 1
9 Enables permanency 2
10 Makes use of verbal–linguistic intelligence 1
11 Enables to write down the observations 2
N. DOĞAN ET AL.
education strategy because it is quite creative, improves imagina-
tion and full of fun (Table 3). It is indicated that the writing
activity enables permanency in education, helps participants to
put forth their writing style and develop their written expression
skills by writing their thoughts, knowledge and observations.
In this research, writing activity is applied both as a group
and individually. It is aimed by asking the question “Which
writing activity is the most effective? (Table 4) The group
activity or the individual one?” to examine which activity is
found more effective and why? According to the results, two of
the participants considered the individual activity more effective,
and the other two thought the group activity more effective.
However, one of the participants stated that both of them are
units of a whole. Individual and group writing activity codings
and frequencies are given in the following. (Table 5).
“Are you going to use writing activity when you become a
teacher?” The participants reply this question as they may use it
in different subjects.
Activity Evaluation Scale:
The views of the students about science card, discussion and
writing activity in the Rahmi Koç Museum is examined with the
“Activity Evaluation Scale”. According to the pre-service teach-
ers’ answers to the questionnaire, the participants stated that
writing activity contributes to learning new information (91.4%),
enables to revise old knowledge (62.9%) and enjoyable (54.3 %).
Besides these, they stated that it is necessary to spend more time
and labor for the writing activity.
Conclusion and Dıscussion
In recent years, field trips to science centres and science and
technology museums have gained importance in Turkey; because,
those places enable students enjoyable and effective science
education. When we compared many developed countries with
Turkey, the interest in museums is still unsatisfactory in Turkey.
In those developed countries, the museum education has a great
importance in their educational programs and educational policies.
There are a lot of science centres and museums in developed
countries as discussed above; however, the number of museums
and science centres in Turkey are quite low and the available
ones are in big cities. These reasons hinder them to become
focal point and also they prevent a formation of museum culture.
Eshach (2007) came to “Çanakkale 18 Mart University” for a
workshop about inquiry events and he surprised that there is no
science centre in Çanakkale and nearby. In their studies, Pisci-
telli and Anderson (2001) determined that the majority of
students (75%) have visited different museums more than
several times; however, only the 12% of them have never been
in a museum before. According to this study, the 75% of
students visited museum with their parents, 69% of them
visited with their elder brothers or sisters, 11% of them visited
with their grandparents, uncles or aunts, 14% of them visited
with their schoolmates, and only the 9% of a student group
stated that they visited museums with their teachers (quoted
from Bozdoğan, 2007).
According to the results of this study, there is a big surprise
for researchers that all the pre-service science teacher
participants have never been in a science and technology
museum and 70.59% have never been in any kind of museums
before they attended to university. The 29.41% of the participants
stated that they have visited a museum and, 8.82% of them
visited with their parents and the 20.59% of them visited with
their teachers in secondary or high school via school trip. One of
the most important findings in this study is museum visiting
with parents in Turkey is quite low when it is compared to
developing countries. These findings show that museum culture
in Turkey is newborn. The pre-service teachers had a chance to
see a science and technology museum for the first time thanks
to this field trip which are quite important for science lessons;
so, this study is very important in this aspect as well.
There are many studies which emphasized the importance of
environments outside the class, such as science centres,
aquariums, and zoos to teach especially the discrete concepts
which are very difficult to learn in class environments; so, the
informal environments affect the attitudes towards science and
success in science (Falk, 1983; Lucas, 2000; Pedretti, 2002;
Frequency codings of the effects of individual writing activity.
Coding Frequency (N:5)
1 Acquiring information 1
2 Expressing feelings and opinions 2
3 Time wasting 1
4 Transfering experiences 1
5 Monolog writing 1
6 Transfering scientific and intellectual ideas 1
Frequency codings of the effects of group working in writing activity
Coding Frequency (N:5)
1 Learning more than one concept occurs 2
2 Teaches how to study with a group 2
3 Completes the missing information 3
4 Enables sharing information 2
5 Enables communication and interaction among people 2
6 Decreasing performance 1
7 Brainstorming 1
N. DOĞAN ET AL. 7
Kisiel, 2005). In this study, all the participants stated that they
were impressed positively by the trip and learned science
concepts while enjoying the trip.
After a 6 hours entertainment-oriented museum trip by
Champagne (1975), he stated that some displayed objects in
science museums are described as “sloopy science” and their
actual meanings are uncertain, and science and technology can
be introduced ethics-free easily and without any problem. On the
contrary to the Champagne’s results; it is revealed in this study
that pre-service teachers expressed that they enjoyed the time in
the science and technology museum, and they stated that they
were surprised at the rapid progress of science and technology
by observing the changes of many objects (telescope, bicycle,
car, ship etc.) throughout the time. The participants even stated
their disturbance about the situation which shows that Turkey
falls behind the west in terms of many developments in science
and technology. According to this scientific field trip, it is
determined from semi-structured interviews that pre-service
teachers grasp the characteristics of the nature of science such as;
scientific knowledge is changeable and it can be affected by the
In their studies, Shortland (1987) and Wymer (1991) stated
that entertainment and science can not coexist. On the contrary
to Shortland and Wymer, the participants in this study stated that
they enjoyed during the trip and acquired knowledge regarding
the questions and science concepts (Table 6). Beside these, they
emphasized that their creativity and imagination improve their
social relations with their friends. It is considered that science
cards and writing activity have impacts on the participants’
positive opinions. However, in order to make generalizations,
this research should be implemented with a bigger sampling
frame and in a different informal environment.
It is reported in many studies that informal learning
environments increase the attitudes, interest and motivation
towards science positively and also provide unconscious/
random learning (Marsick and Watkins, 1990; Ayres and
Melear, 1998; Rennie, 1994; Wolins, Jensen & Ulzheimer,
1992). The results of this study also similar with those
As recommended in many studies, in order to get more
contribution from the museums, it is necessary to motivate and
prepare students well before the museum trips. In order to
provide this, the colorful science cards and the questions were
given to the participants and they were asked to find the
relevant concepts and answers in the museum. The participants
resembled the colorful science cards and question searching
activity with the “treasure hunting” and the title of this article
was inspired from this. The scientific concept cards help to look
around the museum very consciously, and as the participants
stated, these cards also made the trip more enjoyable. Besides
these, the participants indicated that these kinds of activities
enable opportunity to get more contribution from the informal
learning environments. These results are supported by the
findings in the literature, as well. According to many researches,
it was found that the appropriate manipulations before and
during the trip to museums and science centres increased the
learning and motivation (Rennie et al., 2003; Crane, 1994). The
colorful science cards and writing activity in a field trip have
positive effects on learning science subjects, and this is an
important result of this study. The participants stated that they
learn unconsciously and writing activity improve their
creativity and imagination, and also scientific area trip
increases their curiosity towards scientific concepts. It is stated
in different studies that using writing activity in sicence classes
as a learning strategy enables self-learning/metacognition for the
students (Vygotsky, 1962; Hayes, 1987; Langer and Applebee,
1987; Rivard, 1994). Halliday and Martin (1993) emphasized
that writing activity affects students’ point of view and provide
This study also carries the characteristic of being a “sample
model” to show the necessary preparations before the field trips
and the different activities that can be applied in different
environments for pre-service science teachers. It is not a
suprising result for us that the pre-service science teachers who
have never been in a science and technology museum, stated
that they evaluated the applied activities quite different and
they also gained a different experience.
According to the results of this study, it is concluded that
doing the science lessons in the museums and science centres
will enable meaningful learning, makes science lessons more
enjoyable and can take the students away from the class for a
while and so this enables to grow up scientific literate of
individuals who understand how science, technology and
society affect each other and who can use their knowledge in
daily decision-making mechanisms in Turkey. Outdoor
classroom or field trip is dealing with new topics and subject
matter in Turkey. It is especially required to raise awareness
among science teachers about informal learning environments.
It is a quite important step putting the “informal learning”
course as an elective course in faculties of education. Accord-
ing to evidences that we obtained from this study, further rec-
ommendations are needed for the following stages:
It is necessary to make the required arrangemets in
science and technology education program which was changed
in Turkey in 2004 and the responsibility for being a part of
science education should be given to the museums.
The number of science and technology museums and
science centres should be increased immediately in all cities.
If it is not possible to constitute museums and science
centres in all cities, then mobile museums and science centres
should be generated so, they can be transported to the schools.
There should be established a bridge between schools and
Percentage of the results relating to the different categories of all the participating impacts.
Improving Imagination and
N. DOĞAN ET AL.
An awareness should be raised among all teachers and
pre-service teachers about informal learning/teaching.
Learning science subjects can be made more enjoyable
with the scientific field trips by doing different activities such
as making colorful cards and writing activities.
Besides formal education, new strategies and educational
policies should be developed, implemented and generalized
about informal education in every stage of education, and an
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