Research

Principal Researchers
Janet Kolodner - Professor, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Tamara Clegg - PhD Student, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Christina Gardner - PhD Student, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Oriana Williams - Masters Student, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Kitchen Science Investigators


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Kitchen Science Investigators (KSI) is a research project focused on the creation and implementation of an after school program in which elementary and middle school students learn Science through cooking and software to support this environment. The goals of this project include developing a set of community practices for this community necessary for establishing a Community of Practice, and learning how students form identities as scientists and chefs, as well as what we can do to foster the development of these characteristics in our students. We are also seeking to find out more about the learning that occurs in this after school setting. How well does transfer occur in this setting, and how can we design to facilitate transfer of concepts learned to other settings (both inside and outside of the classroom)? Finally, we seek to learn more about fostering creativity and exploration in this environment.

Software

The software for KSI is currently under construction. Our study this year has a major purpose of informing design of software to support the KSI environment. Currently we are designing the software to


Trials

1. Little League Cooking

Little League Cooking was a two week trial run of the after school program with middle school students at a local school. In this trial run, we learned more about types of activities that lend themselves to connecting cooking and Chemsitry and helping students to understand the Chemistry. We were able to get a better idea about the types of scaffolding students need in this setting. This trial also allowed us to learn more about scientific discussions the students have and how to motivate students to have these conversations.

2. Kitchen Science Investigators Science Club Program

Kitchen Science Investigators Science Club Program (KSI) is a ten-week study run in Spring 2005. We worked with fifth graders once per week with the main goal of informing the design of software for the environment. For the first 5 weeks of the program, we used paper-based scaffolds in order to gauge the rituals, successes, and difficulties that occur naturally in the setting. We slowly introduced software to the students in later weeks. Using what we learned in our previous trial, as well as the Learning Science literature, we designed the program so that students prepare one dish per KSI day. Once they have done this several times, they will do a Retry Day, where they alter the recipes they have already prepared (in previous weeks) with scientific reasoning (for more details see p92-clegg.pdf).

3. KSI and Beyond

Since the initial two studies, we have run a second 10-week study carrying on from the first (with many of the same learners returning). We also ran a week-long KSI summer camp program this summer. We are updating the software to fit the learners' needs both during their cooking activities, for later reflection, and for sharing their results with the larger community. Currently, we are doing data analysis and design for future programs.

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