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Real Science: Field Trips, In-school Experiences and Career Awareness

Principal Investigators

Wolff-Michael Roth, University of Victoria

This research project is based on the work concerning "authentic science" that we have done in the past.  Following more recent work, in part studying environmentalism and learning science through participation in environmental activity, we have begun a project of RETHINKING SCIENTIFIC LITERACY (Roth & Barton, 2004). This part of the research is concerned with pushing the theoretical boundaries defining scientific literacy even further.  Thus, we intend to features such as continual emergence, responsibility, ethics and morality, identity, and emotion integral and irreducible components of a theory of scientific literacy.

Anne Marshall, University of Victoria

Dr. Marshall's research projects include life transitions in emerging adulthood, life-career planning with youth (including Aboriginal youth), possible selves mapping, youth health and injury prevention, and identity issues. She has been invited to Thailand and the People's Republic of China to lecture and consult with colleagues regarding issues and interventions for life-career education and counseling.

Asit Mazumder, University of Victoria
Profesor, Department of Biology
Advanced Aquatic Ecology and Critical Syntheses in Ecology; Research: Ecosystem and Watershed Ecology of Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems


Research Fellow

  • Michiel van Eijck, University of Victoria


Research Assistants

  • Bruno Jayme, Elementary students’ and teachers’ interactions during out-of-classroom activities. (2008). Master of Arts thesis, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.
  • Pei-Ling Hsu, Understanding high school students’ science internship: At the intersection of secondary school science and university science. (2008). Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
  • Francis Guenette, Work and career supports and barriers for youth and families in a rural community affected by social and economic restructuring. (in progress). Doctoral dissertation, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.


The fundamental idea emerging at the time that literacy (knowledge) has to be understood in terms of practices—the patterned actions people deploy in their private and working lives—rather than as procedural and declarative information stored in their heads that they bring to bear on problematic situations. Thus, it was proposed that students of mathematics, science, or history engage in activities that bear considerable family resemblance with the activities in which scientists, mathematicians, or historians normally are engaged in. Here, knowledge is equivalent to competent participation in these activities, and learning is recognizable as changing (increasing) competence. The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) emphasizes that all students should experience the quality of science instruction rooted in authentic experience. Packard and Nguyen (2003) also state that career-related internships and intensive academic programs, especially those that yielded important mentoring relationships, were contexts in which adolescent girls negotiated career-related possible selves and subsequent plans. Unfortunately, in many schools, teachers have such heavy curricular demands that it is almost impossible for them to provide an opportunity for students to experience authentic science, let alone to have an internship within a science related activity. Authentic science can be generally defined as science practiced through scientific methods by scientists while school science as science taught to students in regular science classrooms (Uyeda et al., 2002). This study has been designed to provide authentic science experience to high school students in a university lab, participating in science activities with scientists.



Conference Presentation

Instructional Resources

  • Roth, W.-M. (under consideration). Identity and the moral nature of agency: Prolegomena to the development of third-generation cultural-historical activity theory. ((Manuscript version [here])).






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