June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
The Maker movement is sweeping through many segments of the society, positively impacting both formal and informal learning activities. African-American and Hispanic students are underrepresented in the Maker movement and in the STEM workforce, compared to their proportion of the US population. In this paper, we describe the results of the first year of a program that is focused on minority males in middle schools (grades 6 – 8) near a Historically Black University. The program consists of a four week summer program with about 10 four-hour Saturday sessions during the academic year. Participants in this program 1) create products using 3-D modeling software and 3-D printers, 2) develop mobile and embedded applications, 3) enhance computational thinking skills, and 4) pursue related entrepreneurial ventures. The participants interact with local technology entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, minority inventors, and minority college student mentors to learn about STEM careers and encourage self-efficacy.
Students are surveyed (quantitative and qualitative), by external evaluators to address the Research Question: To what extent does participation in the MMM Program increase students’ 1) attitude about STEM, 2) content knowledge, 3) interest in STEM, 4) interest in STEM careers, and 5) interest in attending college? Initial data analysis has been very encouraging and will be described in detail in the paper. Participants showed varying increases in attitude about STEM and interest in STEM subjects and careers (whether as the primary or secondary choice) and knowledge of mobile app development and digital manufacturing knowledge. They also expressed a more nuanced understanding of career options. The surveys also point to a need to explore different strategies to increase interest in math. Results from our program may be of interest to those designing programs that impact students in this age or ethnic group.
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