Midwest Science Festival: Exploring Students' and Parents' Participation in and Attitudes Toward Science

Elizabeth A. Dippel, Keegan B. Mechels, Emily R. Griese, Rachel N. Laufmann, Jill M. Weimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Compared to national numbers, South Dakota has a higher proportion of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Interest in science can be influenced by exposure to science through formal and informal learning. Informal science activities (including exposures and participation) have been found to elicit higher levels of interest in science, likely impacting one's attitude towards science overall. The current study goal is to better understand the levels and relationships of attitude, exposure, and participation in science that were present among students and parents attending a free science festival.

METHODS: The project collected survey data from 65 students and 79 parents attending a science festival ranging from age 6 to 65.

RESULTS: Informal science participation is significantly related to science attitudes in students and informal science exposure is not. No relationship was found for parents between science attitudes and participation.

CONCLUSIONS: Students who indicated high levels of informal science participation (i.e., reading science-themed books) were positively related to their attitudes regarding science. However, informal science exposures, such as attending the zoo or independently visiting a science lab, was not significantly associated with positive attitudes towards science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-349
Number of pages7
JournalSouth Dakota medicine : the journal of the South Dakota State Medical Association
Volume69
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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