A Low Cost Affordable Science Inquiry-Based Curricula for Elementary and Middle School Age Youth

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm TSU - Humphries: 118
Poster Session Part of Friday


Porche L. Spence, North Carolina A & T State University
Tonya Gerald-Goins, North Carolina Central University
Kimberly Weems, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University
Caesar Jackson, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University
Gregory Goins, North Carolina A & T State University
The Diverse and Integrative STEM Continua Using Socio-environmental Systems In and Out of Neighborhoods (DISCUSSION) network, is an educational alliance, led by two historical black colleges and universities (North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU))and in close partnership with community colleges and other organization, to increase the number of prepared, motivated underrepresented students attaining careers in STEM by creating a sustained outcome-driven process of science education. A goal of the DISCUSSION network is to develop and disseminate low-cost inquiry-based science learning materials that positively impacts scientific literacy, retention, and quantitative skills, and to access underserved groups to broaden participation in STEM across socio-economic barriers. A Food, Energy, Water Nexus Learning Modules (FEWLM), an interdisciplinary STEM prototypical curriculum built on Next Generation Science Standards learning objectives, systems thinking and informed engineering design pedagogy, was developed and implemented to provide low-cost inquiry-based science learning materials for formal and informal learning. These STEM workbooks provide hands-on, self-driven and team-building activities with the intent of educating elementary and middle school age youth on the importance of science, increasing their excitement about science and attempting to increase their scientific exposure and awareness about environmental sustainability and human health issues. We piloted FEWLM in the 3rd- 5th grade class at the John Avery Boys and Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties (BGCDOC) after school program and DISCUSSION "hydrophonics" summer enrichment camp for middle school age youth. Interest and attitudes regarding science and career ambitions were measured using pre-post surveys. Overall, participants reported that FEWLM helped them understand science better; became more confidence to succeed in science and made them decide to work harder in school. Furthermore, participants from the BGCDOC and the DISCUSSION "hydrophonics" enrichment summer camp would recommend educational outreach programs using the FEWLM curricula to their friends.