Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Engineering Physics and Physics
Throughout the last half-century, there has been a dramatic increase and interest in space exploration across the globe. Scientific literacy may play a critical role in determining public opinion as well as public support to continuing funding space exploration activities. Increasing the scientific literacy of the current generation of millennial students is of paramount importance for many reasons. One very basic, yet critically important reason is that today’s millennial generation of students will soon become tomorrow’s generation of decision-makers. Motivated by a 2009 study conducted by Cook, et al. with 155 undergraduate students at Syracuse University , through a pilot study this paper will focus on the survey instrument and methodologies used to address how the scientific literacy of undergraduate students may play a role in their shaping their attitudes toward space exploration. The primary question which serves as the backdrop of the present study is: How does the scientific literacy of millennial-aged undergraduate students affect their attitudes toward space exploration? To address this question, survey questions were adapted from the original Cook study and are outlined in the paper. Based on an analysis of the preliminary data collected in the pilot study, necessary modifications to the survey questions were made. With a focus on attitudes towards space exploration, this work in progress paper provides a summary of how the pilot study was used to inform the data collection methodologies as well as to make any necessary modifications to the survey instrument for future studies. Finally, connections to the critical role that courses in physics can play in terms of preparing both STEM and non-STEM millennial-aged students to become more scientifically literate members of society will be made.
Montecalvo, D. R., & Larkin, T. L. (2018, June), Voices of the Millennial Generation: Connections Between Physics, Scientific Literacy and Attitudes towards Future Space Exploration Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31229
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