Space Science Activities to Enhance Middle School Students’ Interest in STEM: Follow-up Assessment of Disposition Retention
Abstract: Sixth grade students participating in a four-hour hands-on technology enriched space science camp acquired more positive dispositions toward space science (ES = .46, p < .05), as measured by pre-camp (time 1) and post camp (time 2) assessments. Topics related to the Parker Solar Probe mission, the Apollo 11 moon mission and Mars spacecraft were taught through innovative technology experiences such as augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing, robotics and drones. Follow up (time 3) assessments indicated that dispositions toward space science regressed somewhat three months after the camp (ES = .18, NS) but remained significantly (p < .05) more positive (ES = .74, p = .002) than baseline values at the pretest for their class as a whole. Findings imply that being selected for space science activities may have a positive impact on dispositions toward space science, with camp activities instilling a degree of resilience that cause participant dispositions not to decline back to their pretest levels after rising from pretest to post test and then declining somewhat. Findings also highlight the importance of follow-up reinforcement activities after an engaging event such as a space science camp, if educators wish to keep dispositions toward STEM topics such as space science highly positive. The authors suggest that remote access follow up sessions with camp educators could help achieve this goal.
Presider: Rhonda Christensen, University of North Texas