New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
As is made abundantly clear in the United States, we face great challenges in aspiring to lead the world in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Some of these challenges come with great risks for the quality of life, health, prosperity, welfare and security of the nation. Coming at a time in history where the threat of our own success may lead to the demise of our species, thinking about ways to impart scientific literacy to the general public is absolutely essential. It has been shown that certain problem-based learning activities can foster academic resilience when the project has broad, complex goals to achieve.
The proposed paper references the qualitative coding of open-ended questions from a survey of participants in a rocket program in the southern United States. The program is for high school students and is composed of 15 different modules. Each module teaches and promotes a student’s understanding of innovation, research and development industry, leadership (knowing when and how to lead), teamwork, design, testing, and analysis of findings. This program suggests that certain project-based learning activities may increase intrinsic motivation and academic resilience as it relates to STEM fields (especially engineering). Further analyses will be performed and inter-rater reliability checks will be implemented to validate findings.
Findings shed new light on the potential of informal science learning, including students' reporting that they are more cognitively resilient as a result of inquiry and problem-based learning strategies. Setting broad and sustainable goals, planning for the worst and learning from failure, and working together to find solutions to complex problems all can be effective ways to sustain academic resilience in the classroom or outside. The researchers found multiple themes emerging from participants' responses that support inquiry and project-based learning. Namely, 12.9% of responses showed a student’s willingness to overcome failure and persist through difficult situations, 16.67% showed a willingness to learn new material, 20.70% of responses discussed the importance of teamwork when solving problems, 38.21% of the students were able to conceptualize the entire process from start to finish, 6.67% of responses discussed their enjoyment of hands-on or active learning and 4.89% of students discussed the importance of goal setting for the project. The researchers also found that 4 themes emerged from utterances made about what topics were learned. These topics were grouped into Newtonian Mechanics, electrical engineering, external forces on the rocket and other interdisciplinary subjects. If students are able to foster or create motivational and interest related constructs with the aid of inquiry and problem-based activities, then teachers and practitioners would be advised to create similar conditions to verify these exciting results.
Burley, H., & Williams, C. M., & Youngblood, T. D., & Yeter, I. H. (2016, June), Understanding "Failure" is an Option Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27095
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