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STEM Modules: Developing Innovative Approaches to Enhance Student Learning

Abstract

In order to increase the pool of students pursuing science degrees at higher educational levels, it is imperative that we expose students to high quality STEM education at early stages. Hence, it is critical that higher-ed and secondary systems partner to develop science materials that will transcend the traditional barriers (access to proper materials, restricted time periods, science equipment, etc.) that are limiting STEM learning within the early learning settings. To that end, through a NSF funded Math and Science Partnership grant, which provides funding for creating partnership among various Alabama schools and universities, we have developed several hands-on STEM modules that use various innovative approaches to expose students to various science concepts. To measure student learning, a pre-test and post-test were given before and after implementation of the STEM Module, respectively, within the middle school classroom. Data collected before and after implementation of the modules revealed that students' knowledge of STEM concepts dramatically improved after implementation of the STEM module activities. In addition, a "student-friendly survey" was given at the end of each module session to measure the clarity and impact of all module activities on students' perception towards module learning.

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