Paper No. 228-11
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM
SWIMMING INTO SCIENCE: SHARKS AND MINNOWS SUMMER CAMP
In recent years, the United States Federal Government has put greater emphasis on education in STEM disciplines to prepare the population for the projected increased demand for professionals in these fields. Sharks and Minnows was a five-day summer camp at the Florida Museum of Natural History for grades 2–5 that aimed to increase interest and awareness of STEM careers. The camp was designed following Career Development Theory and Social Cognitive Career Theory, which address the factors that influence students’ pursuit of STEM careers. Each day of the camp had a specific theme (anatomy, preservation, stratigraphy, ecology, and biomimicry), with each theme building off the concepts addressed in the previous day(s). Additionally, each theme had driving questions, specific learning goals, and a career role model associated with it. Camp participants took on the role of different career professionals through activities mimicking authentic practice. The impact of this camp was evaluated through two iterations of data collection: (1) a content analysis of scientific notebooks and (2) a post-test validated survey. Scientific notebooks were used throughout the camp to record notes, responses to questions, and make scientific drawings (i.e., formative assessment tasks). The content analysis of these notebooks identified themes by analyzing both written and drawn responses. The validated survey used Likert scale questions to measure attitudes towards STEM and 21st century skills. Consequently, a retrospective qualitative analysis was conducted that aligned the content analysis to the validated survey. In order to make this camp sustainable for future iterations, a detailed lesson guide with background content was created for camp instructors.