This project proposes to develop and study an intervention with 9th and 4th graders, with the goal of promoting motivation for science learning. The research is based on theories of growth vs. fixed mindsets. The interventions focus on promoting growth mindsets in students regarding science learning, with units on brain plasticity (the brain changes as a result of effort and experience) and scientists' struggle stories (science is not just done with little effort by geniuses). Delivery of the information will be through multi-media materials. The research design involves random assignment of students within classroom to treatment and control conditions to assess the potential impact of the interventions.
With the U.S. trailing many countries in science literacy, understanding both the psychological obstacles to better performance and pedagogical solutions to these obstacles is of the utmost importance to ensuring improved science outcomes. This research will address this issue by developing and systematically testing interventions available to educators to support science learning in the classroom that focuses on changing children's beliefs about what success in science requires (effort vs being innately gifted).