Student Presents Collaborative Research at the Society for Research in Child Development Meeting Posted on April 4th, 2017 by

Senior psychological science honors major, Allison Birnschein, will be presenting her research at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) 2017 Biennial Meeting this April. She partnered with Professor Kyle Chambers on a project for the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota in Mankato.

The museum staff asked if the Gustavus Center for Developmental Science could conduct an evaluation of how well the museum was exemplifying Minnesota’s arts and cultural heritage in their interactive exhibits. To do this, Chambers and Birnschein conducted a “timing and tracking” observational study over the summer to see which exhibits the children were interacting with and how long they spent at said exhibits.

Birnschein said they were mostly looking at age effects and whether or not kids were choosing certain activities based on their cohort. They were also interested in finding answers to a couple other questions including: if there was a certain order in which the children move around the exhibits, if there is a certain way or logic behind their movements, and how the children learn in an informal work/play environment. The professor-student duo were hoping that their “timing and tracking” observational method would lead to the answers to these questions.

After gathering data, Birnschein presented the data and findings to the Midwest Play Conference as well as to the museum staff this past summer, and then submitted an abstract and their preliminary findings to the SRCD. Their poster was accepted, so Birnschein will be presenting it at the biennial conference at the beginning of April.

Submitted by Marissa Smook ’17


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