We are officially halfway through our summer research! We have been having a lot of fun in the lab working with kindergarteners. Our study focuses on early science learning, and how best to teach it. Specifically, we are concentrating on light. We are having a blast shining flashlights under tables, looking into dark boxes for toys, and playing with lasers and baking soda (there may or may not be baking soda permanently mashed into the carpet). The kids have a great time, and the parents are happy for the free babysitting for half an hour.
Along with all the fun aspects of conducting research, we have also learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes work of what actually goes on. In Developmental Psychology research it is difficult to recruit participants, so we have been sending many emails, creating ads, and maintaining social media accounts (shameless plug: if you know any five year olds, please send them our way!). On days we don’t have children coming in, we are entering data into the computer, transferring videos, and coming up with new ways to test our hypothesis. One thing we have really learned is the importance of trial and error. At the moment, we are redesigning the study to better manipulate our intended variables.
In addition to our regular day to day work, last week we had the opportunity to do an Instagram takeover for the Friargram account. We were able to show people our lab, our favorite spots to eat lunch, and even a trip to Home Depot to buy supplies. It was a great way to show people what it is that we do, and hopefully show future student researchers what a fantastic opportunity it is.
For the upcoming weeks, we have several things to look forward to. Soon we will be bringing our study into a preschool! This will allow us to collect a lot of data in a short amount of time. However, it will also be difficult, and we need to make some modifications to the study to make sure it’s applicable (we have nightmares of five year olds running around shining lasers in each other’s eyes). Also, we are looking forward to the Annual RI SURF Conference. SURF, or the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, is a place where students can come together with other researchers and guests to share their summer work. We are excited to present what we are doing, and also see what other students are up to. Being involved in the sciences is a great way to learn through community.
Until next time!
The Kid Think Team