June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.9.1 - 26.9.17
NASA’s Summer of Innovation in the Rio Grande Valley: Does summer STEM engagementincrease student interest and teacher instruction among underrepresented and underserved youth?(RTP – Strand 4 or Program/Curriculum Evaluation )Summer and after-school programs present a prime venue for fostering student interest in STEM becauseof their informal atmosphere and their unique ability to inspire and excite children through enrichmentexperiences and hands-on, project-based group activities. Out-of-school time (OST) activities allowstudents to connect with STEM on a personal level, which is especially important for students who areunderrepresented in these fields and may not have previously felt encouraged to pursue STEM. Summerof Innovation (SoI) was designed to give students an opportunity to engage in OST learning at an earlyage and during a critical period in the education cycle: summer. While professionals in STEM mayattribute their decision to pursue STEM careers to an out-of-school experience, many formal and informaleducators do not feel they have the skills and knowledge to successfully engage youth in programs topositively impact STEM learning.In 2009, President Obama announced the “Educate to Innovate” campaign to foster a renewedcommitment to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. In January2010, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the Summer of Innovation(SoI) project in response to the President’s call to action. SoI’s clearly articulated Vision, Mission, andObjectives are centered on building local educational capacity for supporting STEM education forunderserved and underrepresented middle school students.This paper examines the SoI program in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. SoI is gearedspecifically towards underserved and underrepresented students in grades 4-9 and leverages a multi-faceted, partnership-based implementation approach to maximize the project’s scale and research whileallowing for local flexibility and innovation. By identifying local needs of schools and providingsustained professional development to certified educators in support of effective content delivery, weincrease capabilities of summer programs to provide program models that are viable for replication orscalability of student interventions.Specific questions addressed in this report ask: 1. What NASA themes were selected? 2. Did activities provided reach the planned diversity of teachers and students? 3. Did participating teachers gain knowledge, build critical instructional STEM skills, and increase self-confidence in motivating students in STEM? 4. Did participating students gain STEM knowledge and become excited about moving forward in the STEM education and career pipeline? 5. What are participating teachers' and students' opinions about their experience in the activities provided through the LRGV SoI project?Conclusions and RecommendationsThe project achieved its goals for reaching females and minorities to disseminate mission information anduse NASA-themed experiences to excite students about STEM. The ringing endorsements by thepredominantly female and minority participants indicates the project is succeeding in using NASA themesfor teacher training along with summer camp activities to increase capabilities and interest in STEMstudies and careers. The teachers' and students' expressed intentions for using and sharing what they havelearned will contribute to sustainable progress toward increased diversity and equity in the STEMpipeline.
Baguio, M., & Fowler, W. T., & Ramirez, S., & Ries, J. G. (2015, June), NASA’s Summer of Innovation in the Rio Grande Valley: Does Summer STEM Engagement Increase Student Interest and Teacher Instruction Among Underrepresented and Underserved Youth? Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23342
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