› This study examined how an informal science educator-elementary school teacher partnership based on a coordination relationship (Weiland & Akerson, 2013) operated in the development and implementation of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Club for girls. A case study methodology was used to understand how the informal science educator-elementary school teacher partnership functioned in the context of the STEM Club. Images of scientists and engineers drawn by the girls before and after participation in the STEM Club were written artifacts used to assess the girls’ perceptions of scientists and engineers. The girls maintained the traditional images of scientists that they brought to the Club, modified, however, to include more female images after participation in STEM Club. The girls’ perceptions of engineers changed dramatically from non-existent or mechanics/ repairmen to realistic images of engineers, including female images, involved in design, laboratory investigation and testing activities.
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The percentage of female images drawn by the girls increased by 30% and 42% for scientist images and engineer images, respectively. Introduction The stereotypical image of the scientist as white and male remains largely unaltered over the past fifty years.
Despite efforts by educators and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) community to change girls’ identities in science and to increase participation of females and ethnic minorities in STEM careers, the STEM workforce likewise remains predominantly white and male. Women and ethnic minorities have been marginalized and their contributions undervalued by the STEM community. Children’s images of scientists become fully developed and stable between the 3 rd and 5 th grades.
A recent study by of African-American 3 rd graders validated this 30 year old finding that children formulate their views of scientists by the lower elementary school grades. Concluded that high ability children have decided whether they will study science by age 9.
Studied a group of scientists and found that these scientists developed their interest in science before middle school. Concluded that it is “children’s stereotypical images of scientists, rather than an actual dislike of science and design technology that dissuades them from becoming scientists and engineers”. They identified a “need to provide more positive, inspiring images of the work of scientists and engineers if children are to be encouraged to consider these career options”. It is here the authors introduce the reader to derivatives of methylphenidate, better known as Concerta or Ritalin, dexmethylphenidate, better known as Focalin.
They describe how some universities in the United Kingdom successfully implement a screening test, called DAST-10, which can help predict a. Notice: Changes introduced as a result of publishing processes such as copy-editing and formatting may not be reflected in this document. For a definitive version of this work, please refer to the published source. Girls’ attrition from science begins between the ages of 9 and 14 starting with entry into upper elementary school grades.
Children need “to tie the word scientist to a particular person”. Teen girls need that “particular person” to be female. Female mentors encourage persistence in STEM and are “effective and important in improving self-efficacy”. Programs that bring scientists and/or engineers into elementary school classrooms have had mixed results in changing elementary school students’ perceptions of scientists.
The Horsham Greenpower Goblin Challenge (HGGC) in the UK was a project-based program that involved 9 - 11 year olds in building and racing a single-seat electric car. Children built the cars as a class during a 1 - 2 week period, typically during school hours.
Adults assisted and a female engineer provided technical expertise and final safety inspections. After participation in HGGC, students drew images of scientists that were more stereotypical than the scientist images they had drawn prior to participation.
Likewise, their engineer images showed more repairing activities and car mechanic stereotypes. In other interventions at the elementary school level, scientists and engineers visited formal science classes during the school day.
A visit by a female STEM practitioner resulted in more girls drawing female scientist images after the visit than did a visit by a male STEM practitioner. However, another study demonstrated persistence of stereotypical scientist images even when three young female scientists worked with 4 th and 5 th graders in their elementary school classrooms on a daily basis over a four week period. While in the classrooms, these scientists led physical science inquiry activities and discussed their research careers with the children.
The students actually “questioned the true identity of the scientists, categorizing them as teachers”. By contrast, an after-school, museum sponsored informal science education program enhanced gifted 4 th and 5 th grade students’ understanding of scientists’ work and increased their interest in science careers. In all of the foregoing studies, the scientists or engineers were strictly visitors. There was no indication that any type of relationship was established between them and the classroom teachers whose rooms they visited.
Showed that fifth grade students gained content knowledge from a life science lesson prepared and implemented as a result of an informal educator and elementary school teacher partnership. They explored this relationship using a case study methodology and examined the roles that each educator played in the partnership. The informal educator provided “expertise and resources not readily available to them”.
The elementary school teacher’s role included “classroom management, making connections to classroom activities and curricula and clarifying concepts”. Significantly, the two educators, the informal science educator and the elementary school teacher, felt that these roles were “critical to the optimization of the short time frames (1 h) the informal educator was in the classroom”. There is a clear need for informal STEM education opportunities for girls between the ages of 9 and 14 that can provide authentic images of STEM practitioners, including scientists and engineers. Elementary school age children, including children identified as gifted, can engage in scientific inquiry and develop more sophisticated understandings of scientists’ works. The specific nature of the intervention is an important factor in determining whether and how children’s, especially girls’, perceptions of scientists and engineers can be influenced. An interactive partnership between an informal science educator (ISE) and an elementary school teacher (EST) such as the relationship of “coordination” described by holds promise for development and implementation of an informal science education program for girls, a STEM Club.
The STEM Club must preserve the scientist/engineer’s identity with regular, but not daily, interactions with the girls. It must provide high quality inquiry STEM learning experiences in the informal learning environment that can be created through collaboration of an informal science educator and an elementary school educator. Research Design 2.1. Research Questions There were two research questions for the study: 1) How can a partnership built on a coordination relationship between a female informal science educator and a female elementary school teacher as defined by operate in the development and implementation of a STEM Club for gifted fifth grade girls? 2) How does participation in such a STEM Club affect gifted fifth grade girls’ perceptions of scientists and engineers?
The purpose of this study was two-fold. First, to examine how a partnership built on a coordination relationship between a female informal science educator and a female elementary school teacher could develop and implement an informal science education program, a STEM Club for gifted fifth grade girls, in an elementary school setting. Secondly, the research addressed how participation in a STEM Club affected gifted fifth grade girls’ perceptions of practitioners of science and engineering, scientists and engineers. The girls’ perceptions of practitioners of technology and mathematics, “technologists” and mathematicians, respectively, were not considered. For the purposes of this paper, scientists are defined as practitioners of the natural sciences including “school science”, i.e., “the natural sciences (physical and biological) sciences with the addition of earth science”. Engineers are defined as practitioners of civil, environmental, aerospace, mechanical, structural, chemical, materials, electrical, computer or petroleum engineering. Method Following the approach taken by, the present study used a case study approach to explore how the informal science educator-elementary school teacher partnership and the gifted fifth grade girls interacted in the classroom based STEM Club.
Fifth grade girls were chosen because girls’ attrition from science begins between the ages of 9 and 14 starting with entry into upper elementary school grades. The unit of analysis for the study was the informal science educator/elementary school teacher partnership and the gifted fifth grade girl STEM Club participants. The study was approved by the University of Oklahoma Institutional Review Board. Participants 2.3.1.
The Informal Science Educator The informal science educator (ISE) was one of the co-authors, Florence McCann, a European-American female. She was then a doctoral student in science education and had experience providing informal STEM education programs for elementary school age children for almost 10 years when this research was conducted. She had a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in materials science and engineering and had published articles in peer reviewed journals in these STEM fields. The Elementary School Teacher The elementary school teacher (EST) was one of the co-authors, Carell Falsarella, also a European-American female.
She was then the Gifted Resource Coordinator responsible for school wide and pull-out enrichment programs for grades pre-K-5 at a large suburban elementary school. She had bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and over 40 years of combined experience as an elementary and middle school classroom teacher, reading specialist, and gifted resource coordinator. In addition to her science enrichment work with the ISE, she also had extensive experience organizing science and invention fairs. The Gifted Fifth Grade Girls―The STEM Club Members All identified gifted girls in the fifth grade were invited to join STEM Club.
The selection criteria were that the girls be identified gifted fifth grade girls. The only demographic information collected was that the girls were identified as gifted and participated in the Norman Public Schools district gifted and talented program.
Of the 12 girls who accepted the invitation, 8 gave their assent and had parental consent to participate in the current study. The remaining 4 girls, who were not part of the study, attended all STEM Club meetings and took part in all Club activities. However, their scientist and engineer drawings were returned to them and were not included as data for the present study. The EST advertised the Club to gifted female 5 th graders as well as to their parents and fifth grade teachers. She recruited Club members and study participants. She obtained all parental consents and children’s assents for girls participating in the study.
Only the EST knew the identities of the girls who were participating in the study. The ISE did not know the identities of study participants. The number of participants, 12, was adequate for the study, since the research design involved a case study approach. Data Sources Multiple forms of data were collected and analyzed according to a data triangulation method as used. Primary data sources included both the ISE and EST co-authors’ first-hand impressions of their planning sessions for STEM Club curriculum, and their observations during the monthly STEM Club meetings. Secondary sources were emails between the ISE and EST regarding the curriculum and organization for the monthly STEM Club meetings; notes from their meetings; lesson plans; notes and photos taken by the EST during STEM Club meetings; as well as pre- and post- STEM Club participation images of scientists and engineers drawn by the girls.
The STEM Club The STEM Club was an enrichment activity offered at a large (over 600 students), suburban elementary (grades pre-K-5) school in the Southwestern United States. Fewer than 40% of students at the school qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. The EST and the ISE led the Club. STEM Club met 7 times, approximately once monthly, for 40 minutes during the school day in the elementary school teacher’s classroom. The ISE and the EST identified three items as hallmarks of a successful STEM Club: 1) learning STEM by doing, (2) making STEM learning fun, and (3) connecting STEM learning to real life experiences.
These criteria guided them in selection and design of the elementary school STEM Club activities. Since STEM Club members were identified gifted 5 th graders, the ISE and EST incorporated instructional strategies that addressed the particular needs of gifted STEM learners into each Club meeting. Activities were appropriately paced and challenging questions were welcomed. The ISE and EST encouraged risk taking to counter the perfectionism and fear of failure often experienced by gifted students, especially gifted girls. They provided a psychologically safe environment where the girls could explore their STEM abilities and develop their STEM identities.
Within this safe environment, the ISE and EST deliberately implemented strategies to improve the girls’ STEM self-efficacy, including “specific praise”. The ISE and EST consistently complimented the girls when they displayed scientific reasoning and practice skills in the context of independent decision-making. They referred to each girl as a “scientist” and/or “engineer”. During each STEM Club meeting, the girls collaborated in teams of four on inquiry science investigations developed specifically for STEM Club by the ISE and EST.
The EST informed the ISE about the science curriculum that the girls were learning in their formal science classes. The ISE then assumed primary responsibility for developing STEM Club investigations. She provided some equipment and materials. The EST obtained additional equipment and supplies. These investigations used a two-pronged lesson model such as those found at www.lessonplanet.com. The ISE embedded two-pronged STEM Club lessons within a 5-E (engage, explore, explain, extend and evaluate) instructional approach. The first “prong” of the lesson was the STEM content.
The second “prong” was a “life lesson” that suggested ways to use STEM understanding to be a responsible citizen. The ISE designed the lessons to support the girls’ science learning by encouraging them to be part of a solution to a STEM-related problem facing society.
Specifically, the unifying theme of these life lessons was “living green” by using STEM knowledge to be a more efficient energy consumer. The lessons also prompted the girls to be the inventors of the next generation of green energy solutions. Prior to each STEM Club meeting, the EST reminded the girls and their teachers about the Club meeting in her classroom. She assigned the students to work together in groups of four that best accommodated the girls’ individual work styles and dispositions. EST arranged tables and chairs in her classroom for each group based on her group assignments and set out supplies along with the girls’ laboratory notebooks. The ISE arrived about an hour before each Club meeting. The ISE and EST discussed the agenda for the meeting and completed set up of materials and equipment.
The STEM-related life lesson was in the engage phase. During the explore phase, the girls collaborated in their groups to perform materials rich inquiry activities and collect data needed to develop the STEM concept.
While the EST was primarily responsible for classroom management, both the ISE and EST circulated among the groups during the explore phase. They encouraged the girls to analyze and interpret their data.
The girls made entries in their STEM Club notebooks. The ISEhelped the girls use their laboratory notebooks to record data and document how their thinking and understanding had developed over the course of the school year. During the explain phase, all Club members together developed the STEM concept. In the extend phase, the girls revisited the life lesson first introduced in the engage phase and made connections to the STEM concept. The extend phase offered strategies for how the girls could use their STEM knowledge to “make a difference”.
Life lessons were intended to go beyond a science-technology-society (STS) curriculum perspective. Rather, they were designed to help the girls become proactive in developing their own positions regarding responsible use of energy resources and then take action within their homes and families. The evaluate phase began at the end of each Club meeting when the girls classified that day’s investigation as “S” for science, “E” for engineering, “T” for technology or “M” for mathematics. This was an opportunity for the girls to exercise their metacognitive skills as they reflected on their learning.
Typically, there was lively discussion about how best to classify each investigation. The investigations deliberately integrated at least 3 and occasionally all 4 STEM disciplines. Debates indicated that the girls accurately perceived how the activities included content from multiple STEM disciplines. Most often, the girls concluded that there was some content from each STEM discipline, but that one discipline predominated. In order to maintain a relaxed club atmosphere, the ISE and EST made informal assessments of the girls’ learning during and after each Club meeting. These included formative assessments of the girls’ understanding based on observations of group discussions and responses to questions during Club meetings. The girls’ notebook entries were reviewed after each Club meeting by the ISE and EST to gain insight into the development of their STEM reasoning and grasp of STEM content.
The EST kept the laboratory notebooks in her classroom. The Effect of STEM Club Participation on the Gifted Fifth Grade Girls’ Perceptions of Scientists and Engineers In order to address the second research question, the fifth grade girls’ perceptions of scientists and engineers were examined using three instruments: Draw-A-Scientist- Checklist (DAST-C); Enhanced-Draw-A-Scientist- Test (E-DAST); and Draw-An-Engineer-Test (DAET). The DAST and DAET were administered as pre-tests at the beginning of the first Club meeting in late fall and as post-tests at the beginning of the last Club meeting in late spring. Figures 1-6 show some of these drawing artifacts. The girls drew the images using pencils, re.
Female scientist DAST post-test image drawn by the same girl who drew the pre-test image shown in Figure 1. Sulting in faint lines and caption lettering. In order to preserve the integrity of these artifacts as expressions of the girls’ perceptions, the drawings were scanned without any retouching or editing to make lines or letters more distinct.
Three raters working independently scored each pre- and post-test scientist drawing according to the DAST-C and E-DAST evaluation criteria. The raters were the ISE, the EST and a professor of. DAET pre-test drawing of a stereotypical male mechanic wearing dirt spattered clothing and standing beside a car. Science education, the third co-author. Rife Generator 3.4 Serial Key.
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