Many learners think of scientific reasoning as something that is done only in the classroom. We aim to develop long-term scientific programs outside of school, helping learners to see and do science in their everyday lives, where the science is not simple and fixed (or pre-packaged). Our challenge is to facilitate the development of a learning community for learners with a variety of interests and learning styles, allowing each to find their own “hook ” into science. Our approach is to help learners form a learning community where they participate in science together, taking ownership of their learning and learning science as they pursue their own goals of preparing tasty dishes. In this paper, we present data from our informal learning environment, Kitchen Science Investigators, where middle-school-aged children learn science and scientific reasoning skills through cooking. We are specifically focused on how participants reason scientifically. We look at two groups, who are at opposite ends of two dimensions (interest and planning style) to see how they responded to the scaffolding provided in the environment, how their scientific reasoning skills developed, and the community issues that arose (i.e. group dynamics) among and within the groups. We do this in efforts to draw out issues that arise when designing for a heterogeneous set of learners (along the dimensions of interest and planning style), and to begin thinking about ways to address these issues
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