Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

General Human Environmental Sciences

Advisor

Glenda Revelle

Committee Member

Kathleen R. Smith

Second Committee Member

Zola Moon

Keywords

Education; Circuits; Girls; Middle-school; STEM; Self-efficacy

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine if the experience of designing and sewing LilyPad Arduino circuits in crafts projects can increase middle school girls’ STEM self-efficacy. Boys STEM self-efficacy will also be assessed to determine if LilyPad Arduino circuits can also increase boys’ STEM self-efficacy. Researchers have been wondering why there is a male dominance in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and why some women do not have a particular interest in these subjects. There are several reasons this could happen; stereotypes conveyed to them by parents and/or teachers, they genuinely are not interested in STEM or their self-efficacy is low in STEM. This study investigated an intervention designed to increase the STEM self-efficacy of middle school girls. A four week workshop was conducted to evaluate whether designing and sewing circuits using the LilyPad Arduino system could in fact help raise middle school girls’ STEM self-efficacy. A total of 16 students in 6th-8th grade completed the workshop; 6 girls and 10 boys. After the workshop, data revealed that girls who completed the workshop were more likely to show STEM self-efficacy increases than girls who did not participate in the workshop. However, boys did not see a significant increase or decrease in STEM self-efficacy after completion of the workshop. Self-efficacy is one determinant of how much effort a student will put into an assignment or action, so increased self-efficacy could lead to increased effort in future STEM subjects.

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