Effects of STEM Summer Camp on Motivation and Interest in Mathematics and Science
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The objective of this thesis was to investigate students’ affect towards mathematics and science and their perceptions of hands-on activities as it relates to their motivation to learn during STEM summer camp. In addition to identifying the effects STEM camp has on student affect and motivation, results of the current research will give researchers a better understanding in the value of engaging students in STEM activities in informal educational settings. The current research considers both quantitative and qualitative perspectives of students’ participation in a STEM summer camp’s activities. The focus of the first study was on how STEM summer camp influences students’ affect contributing to their commitment in mathematics and science. Instructors administered the STEM Attitude Survey electronically to the students before and after the STEM camp to address the respondents’ attitudes and interests towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The results indicated student affect towards mathematics and science improved with participation in STEM activities during a summer camp environment. The rise in student affect scores on the last day of camp, suggests that students’ commitment to mathematics and science does improve with an informal STEM education. In the second study, thirty-six participants were interviewed to provide insight into students’ experiences involving hands-on activities during a summer camp and highlights students’ perceptions of the activities in relation to their motivation to learn. The motivating features of the activities outlined in this study were interest, relevance, and enjoyment. The findings indicated favorable outcomes when implementing hands-on activities in a veterinary science course during a week-long summer camp. Students were interested, found the activities relevant, and enjoyed the hands-on activities. Recommendations include educators designing and creating hands-on activities students find interesting, relevant, and enjoyable to increase students’ motivation in learning science. Both of these studies support providing students with informal learning experiences involving hands-on activities to increase student affect and motivation. Educators should utilize these results to create opportunities for exposing students to STEM experiences in mathematics and science and for using hands-on activities in science.
Drey, Lauren Elizabeth (2016). Effects of STEM Summer Camp on Motivation and Interest in Mathematics and Science. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from