June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1561.1 - 12.1561.13
Using Service-Learning to Develop a K-12 STEM Service and Experiential Learning Website Site Rebecca P. Blust, Margaret Pinnell Ph.D. University of Dayton
This paper will discuss a National Science Foundation grant project that has been designed to provide a mechanism to inform a significant group of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educators of the strategies available to incorporate service-learning and experiential learning into their curriculum. The goal of the project is to identify, evaluate, classify and distribute resources (via a web site) for STEM educators (grades K-12) wishing to incorporate community service or hands-on learning into their curriculum in order to encourage students to pursue careers in these fields. By helping students to “make the connections” between STEM subjects and real-world issues, these strategies are expected to increase student interest in STEM disciplines, enrich learning experiences for students, and enhance the skills of STEM educators on the content and application of STEM subjects. In addition the experiential learning that has taken place during the development phase of the website will be discussed. During this phase, a cross functional student team selected the web project as a result of taking a project course.
The demand for workers in the U.S. who are educated in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields continues to increase at a rate that outpaces the supply. There is a significant gender gap that persists despite continued efforts to address the root causes and to address educational inequities that contribute to its continuance. A study of employment data from 1983 to 2003 shows an increase in the number of women holding jobs in the natural and social sciences, yet there has been no corresponding increase in the field of engineering. The fields of mathematics and computer science have actually experienced a decrease in the number of women holding jobs over this same period of time.1
Many studies support the belief that efforts to achieve a more diverse workforce for STEM related disciplines must start by encouraging K-12 students from under- represented groups (including girls) to become interested in science and math and pursue that interest when making career choices.2 Encouragement toward these disciplines can come in many forms including teaching methods that make science and math exciting and fun, and at the same time stimulating students to become more actively involved in their own learning.
Blust, R., & Pinnell, M. (2007, June), Using Service Learning To Develop A K 12 Stem Service And Experiential Learning Site Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2774
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