In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of Learning Sciences (2012) Sydney, Australia.
Students often find science to be disconnected from their everyday lives. One reason for
this disengagement is that learners are often not given the chance to choose how to pursue their
personal goals using science reasoning. Therefore, we are creating science programs that
emphasize life-relevant learning - the ability to engage science learners in the context of achieving
their own goals. We developed Kitchen Chemistry to engage and support children in the design of
their own personal investigations. In this paper, we use a case study analysis to examine three
groups of learners in Kitchen Chemistry. We analyze the decisions that learners make, how
learners make these decisions, and the supports needed to make informed choices. We examine
how the use of semi-structured activities, whole group discussions, adult facilitation, and mobile
technologies interact and support learners in their decision-making practices.