Washington State University researcher Samantha Gizerian said test scores improved among fourth-grade students in South Los Angeles after science and medical students from a local university gave 10 one-hour presentations on science.
"A lot of students say things like, 'I didn't know science was fun,'" said Gizerian, who was involved in giving the presentations. "And because they think it's fun, all of a sudden it's not work anymore. It's not homework. It's not something extra that they have to do."
In addition to improving their test scores, the fourth-graders also took home non-fiction books and showed a greater willingness to practice reading and math, Gizerian said in a WSU release Thursday.
The university students giving the presentations, who were mostly from ethnic minorities, served as role models for the fourth-grade pupils who came from predominantly low-income, minority neighborhoods, she said.
The pupil's prevailing attitude, Gizerian said, is, "in our culture, science isn't something we do. Science is for 'them.' To have kids in their classroom whose faces are the same colors, and for them to say, 'Science is for me,' that's a big thing that we do."