Rural Turkish Students' Reactions to Learning Science in a Mobile Laboratory

Erol M., BÜYÜK U., Onal N. T.

EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES-THEORY & PRACTICE, vol.16, no.1, pp.261-277, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier


The inadequacy of experimental activities (or lack of equipment) in science courses in rural parts of Turkey negatively effects students' acquisition of scientific thinking and inquiry skills. The fact that success rates are notably low in international assessments demonstrates the necessity to adopt "different" approaches apart from the existing learning and teaching methods. From this point of view, a mobile science laboratory (MSL) was constructed to deliver outreach activities in the rural outskirts of a city in Turkey. Experimental activities were carried out in this laboratory for six months with 324 middle school students who responded to survey questions. The research was designed with multimethod: A combination of quantitative and qualitative data-collection strategies was used. The first part has 25 five-point closed-ended Likert-scale items, and the second part has two open-ended questions. The results of the study show that the students in the rural areas were pleased with the activities; they enjoyed learning science in the MSL, and their interest and curiosity for science contents increased. It will be suggested that the MSLs should be used in order to support the science literacy of students in the rural areas of Turkey.