Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
The paper will present detailed implementation and evaluation of an Aerospace Academy program geared towards exposing K-12 students, with emphasis toward underrepresented populations, to the high-demand aerospace and aviation fields. The program activities are designed to increase interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and improve college readiness and career exposure through aerospace/aviation-themed STEM activities. Students learned about potential college and career opportunities that exist in these fields and why a strong background in advanced science and mathematics is crucial to achieve these careers. Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) received funding through NASA and private foundations to implement a comprehensive K-12 Aerospace Academy outreach program with emphasis toward minorities from rural counties surrounding ECSU.
These counties have long suffered the effects of poverty and have lacked the opportunities for most students to encounter the 21st century workplace that is readily accessible in more urban areas of the state. However, with recent growth in the aviation and aerospace industry in the region, there now exists the potential to link K-12 education to these industries. Student activities were delivered through Friday Academy, Saturday Academy and Summer Academies with participation from 235 middle and high school students. The participants comprised of 43.83% Male and 56.17% Female across 6th to 12th grade levels. The three key components of K-12 Aerospace Academy program at ECSU are: (i) Curriculum Enhancement Activities (CEA) – Hands-on, inquiry-based K-12 STEM curricula, (ii) Aerospace Educational Laboratory (AEL) – both stationary and mobile, and (iii) Family Connection – parental involvement and informal education. The goals of the K-12 Aerospace Academy program are; (i) Improving STEM literacy, (ii) Educate students utilizing a STEM curriculum that meets national standards , (iii) Inspiring student population to pursue college and careers in STEM-related disciplines and/or careers.
The project adopted grade appropriate NASA STEM curriculum at its core and integrates 3D printing technology, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) design, and sensor-based measurement systems to enhance authentic and experiential learning experiences. Integration of these technologies and activities adds an additional dimension to the value of scientific inquiry and shows how to apply scientific and mathematical knowledge and procedures, to solve real-world engineering problems and improve the world we live in. The curriculum supports the Next Generation Science Standards and contained a strong emphasis on math and science literacy for 21st century learners. Students participating in the program completed a total of thirty-six (36) to forty (40) hours of hands-on experience.
Both descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used to analyze the evaluation data. Evaluation data was gathered through a formalized Student Feedback Survey. Topics discussed in the paper will include implementation of the K-12 Aerospace Academy program at ECSU, program components and delivery model, participant demographics, student activities, and project evaluation.
Rawat, K. S., & Lawrence, E. E., & Mangham, R. R., & Gooden, O. D. (2018, June), K-12 Aerospace Academy: An Out-of-School Authentic and Experiential STEM Learning Experience for College and Career Pathways to Aerospace/Aviation Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30742
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