Fall SAVY 2018, Day 2 – Media Mania (3rd/4th)
Dear Media Mania parents,
Last week, your students explored media and developed a better understanding of how some products can influence our thoughts and behaviors. This week, we took our first steps toward learning how to evaluate consequences associated with media use.
To prepare your students to design their very own experiments, we learned how psychologists apply the scientific method to evaluate people. Each student took one of their interesting observation about a media product and turned it into a working question to evaluate. We then applied the scientific method to, identify our variables of interest, devise a testable hypothesis, and design an actual experiment! The class was especially interested in evaluating how screens can lead to addictive behaviors and how some media can lead to changes in mood. We were truly impressed with the level of insight the students brought to class when deciding what topics to evaluate and what experimental designs they could implement.
To really get the class excited about their own studies, we visited the Vanderbilt Early Development Lab to see real psychology research at work! During the visit your students got to explore the developmental research lab that I work in and learn about an active study. The class was especially excited to watch videos of toddlers participating. My favorite moment was listening to the text-book answers I got from your students when I asked them some really tough questions about the study. And I do mean tough. These were questions I typically ask undergraduate students during research assistant interviews! I would encourage you all to ask your student about what (s)he learned in the lab, the findings of the study, and why (s)he thought we got such interesting results.
Having demonstrate an understanding of basic research methods, it was time to dive into data analysis! Our teaching assistant, Miss Elaine, helped your students practice graphing data points and using measures of central tendency (such as the mean) to find patterns in a data set.
Now that your students have practice all the skills they need to be media researchers, they are ready to collect and evaluate their very own data!