Youth Perceptions of Science, Technology, and Engineering in Workshops at a Community Organization
As part of a graduate course for supporting K-12 teachers’ use of technology in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, teachers worked in teams of 3 to 6 to create workshops for youth (in grades two to eight) at a community organization. Teachers used curriculum kits from the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) project of the Museum of Science, Boston, together with technological resources including iPads, to plan and conduct workshops with four sessions of eight hours each. A survey-based evaluation of 36 youth was conducted, examining their perceptions of science and engineering. An analysis of surveys, done before and after the workshops, showed statistically significant changes on some questions. For example, after the workshops, boys and girls more strongly agreed with an engineering-related survey question, that they liked thinking of new and better ways of doing things. Also after the workshops, boys and girls also agreed more strongly that they knew what scientists did for their jobs. In addition, after the workshops, girls more strongly agreed they knew what engineers did for their jobs, reaching a similar level as boys, whose responses did not change significantly. Overall, this case study suggests benefits of the program to participating youth.
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