Parents’ Evaluations of the Observation Guide Supporting Zoo Visitor’s Scientific Observations
This study clarifies the effectiveness of a developed Observation Guide for children who visited a zoo based on parents’ evaluations. The Observation Guide was developed to support the scientific observation of animals in zoo venues using animation, particularly the features and behaviors of different animal body parts. The themes of the Observation Guide were the observable features and behaviors of the hind flippers, noses, and claws of seals at the Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa City, Japan. The study participants were 14 families recruited publicly, consisting of 22 parents and 16 children. The average age of the children was 7.0 years (SD = 2.0). We prepared one Observation Guide for each child and evaluated its effectiveness for observation support, based on the results of a questionnaire provided to the parents and their interviews. We asked parents whether the Observation Guide animations were useful for the children’s observation of the seals’ hind flippers, noses, and claws. At least 90% of the parents found the guides useful owing to the following reasons: (a) Making the movements of seals comprehensible for children with ease, (b) Making children focus on features and behaviors, (c). Familiarity with animation and its effect on motivation, (d) Comparison of the animations with real seals by the children. The Observation Guide was found to be an effective tool for observing the features and behaviors of animal body parts. Future research can focus on improving the animations.
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