Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 947–960 | Cite as

Motivating Young Native American Students to Pursue STEM Learning Through a Culturally Relevant Science Program

Article

Abstract

Data indicate that females and ethnic/race minority groups are underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce calling for innovative strategies to engage and retain them in science education and careers. This study reports on the development, delivery, and outcomes of a culturally driven science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) program, iSTEM, aimed at increasing engagement in STEM learning among Native American 3rd–8th grade students. A culturally relevant theoretical framework, Funds of Knowledge, informs the iSTEM program, a program based on the contention that the synergistic effect of a hybrid program combining two strategic approaches (1) in-school mentoring and (2) out-of-school informal science education experiences would foster engagement and interest in STEM learning. Students are paired with one of three types of mentors: Native American community members, university students, and STEM professionals. The iSTEM program is theme based with all program activities specifically relevant to Native people living in southern Arizona. Student mentees and mentors complete interactive flash STEM activities at lunch hour and attend approximately six field trips per year. Data from the iSTEM program indicate that the program has been successful in engaging Native American students in iSTEM as well as increasing their interest in STEM and their science beliefs.

Keywords

STEM learning K-12 Native American Funds of Knowledge Mentoring Informal science 

References

  1. Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America (2014) Arizona STEM report card. http://www.paradisevalley.edu/sites/default/files/steam_report_card_2014.pdf. Accessed 6 June 2015
  2. Andrade R, Carson C, González N (2001) Creating links between home and school mathematics practices. In: McIntyre E, Rosebery A, González N (eds) Classroom diversity: connecting curriculum to students’ lives. Heinemann, Portsmouth, pp 100–114Google Scholar
  3. Ayers M, Fonseca JD, Andrade R, Civil M (2001) Creating learning communities: the build your own dream house unit. In: McIntyre E, Rosebery A, González N (eds) Classroom diversity: connecting school to students’ lives. Heinemann, Portsmouth, pp 92–99Google Scholar
  4. Bernstein L, Dun Rappaport C, Olsho L, Hunt D, Levin M (2009) Impact evaluation of the US Department of Education’s student mentoring program (NCEE 2009-4047). National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouillion LM, Gomez LM (2001) Connecting school and community with science learning: real world problems and school-community partnerships as contextual scaffolds. J Res Sci Teach 38(8):878–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bouvier S, Connors K (2011) Increasing student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Massachusetts STEM pipeline fund programs using promising practices. Report prepared for the Massachussets Department of Higher Educaion, 74. Donahue Institute, Research and Evaluation Group, BostonGoogle Scholar
  7. Brainard SG (2000) A curriculum for training mentors and mentees for an electronic mentoring program. Vol 1: student E-mentee guide; vol 2: professional E-mentor guide. University of Washington, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  8. Brainard SG, Harkus D, St. George M (1998) A curriculum for training mentors and mentees in science and engineering. The University of Washington, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  9. Calabrese Barton A, Tan E (2009) Funds of knowledge and discourses and hybrid space. J Res Sci Teach 46(1):50–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Change the Equation (2015) The diversity dilemma. www.changetheequation.org/dilemma-diversity-dilemma. Accessed 8 June 2015
  11. Civil M, Andrade R (2002) Chapter 6: transitions between home and school mathematics: rays of hope amidst the passing clouds. In: De Abreu G, Bishop AJ, Presmeg NC (eds) Transitions between contexts of mathematical practice. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Great Britain, pp 149–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dean DJ (2009) Getting the most out of your mentoring relationships: a handbook for women in STEM. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Deloria V, Wildcat DR (2001) Power and place: Indian education in America. Fulcrum, GoldenGoogle Scholar
  14. Diversi M, Mecham C (2005) Latino(a) students and Caucasian mentors in a rural after-school program: towards empowering adult-youth relationships. J Community Psychol 33(1):31–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frehill LM, Di Fabio NM, Hill ST (2008) Confronting the “new” American dilemma—underrepresented minorities in engineering: a data-based look at diversity. White Plains National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. Retrieved 22 April 2011Google Scholar
  16. Gardner H, Hatch T (1989) Multiple intelligences go to school: educational implications of the theory of multiple intelligences. Educ Res 18(8):4–10. American Educational Research Association. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176460. Accessed 12 May 2016
  17. Gomez R, Knox C, Stevens S, Andrade R (2015) iSTEM: an innovative hybrid program for diversifying and building capacity in the STEM/ICT workforce. Teacher resource manual. University of Arizona, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  18. González N, Moll L (2001) Cruzando el puente: building bridges to funds of knowledge. Educ Policy 16(4):623–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. González N, Andrade R, Civil M, Moll L (2001) Bridging funds of distributed knowledge: creating zones of practices in mathematics. J Educ Stud Placed Risk 6(1):115–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. González N, Andrade R, Civil M, Moll L (2005a) Funds of distributed knowledge. In: González N, Moll L, Amanti C (eds) Funds of knowledge: theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp 257–269Google Scholar
  21. González N, Moll L, Amanti C (eds) (2005b) Funds of knowledge: theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  22. Goodenow C (1993) The psychological sense of school membership among adolescents: scale development and educational correlates. Psychol Sch 30:79–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Harty H, Beall D (1984) Toward the development of a children’s science curiosity measure. J Res Sci Teach 21(4):425–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Henry JS (1994) A formal mentoring program for junior female faculty: description and evaluation. Incentives 56(2):37–45Google Scholar
  25. Herrera C, Grossman JB, Kauh TJ, McMaken J (2011) Mentoring in schools: an impact study of big brothers big sisters school-based mentoring. Child Dev 82(1):346–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jacobs DT, Reyhner J (2002) Preparing teachers to support American Indian and Alaska native student success and cultural heritage. ERIC digests. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED459990.pdf. Accessed 22 April 2011
  27. Jones RD (2009) Student engagement teacher handbook. International Center for Leadership in Education, RexfordGoogle Scholar
  28. Jucovy L (2002) Measuring the quality of mentor-youth relationships: a tool for mentoring programs. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  29. Karcher MJ (2005) The effects of developmental mentoring and high school mentors’ attendance on their younger mentees’ self-esteem, social skills, and connectedness. Psychol Sch 42(1):65–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Karcher MJ (2008) The study of mentoring in the learning environment (SMILE): a randomized evaluation of the effectiveness of school-based mentoring. Prev Sci 9(2):99–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Karcher MJ, Sass D (2010) A multicultural assessment of adolescent connectedness: testing measurement invariance across gender and ethnicity. J Couns Psychol 57(3):274–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kier MW, Blanchard MR, Osborne JW, Albert JL (2013) The development of the STEM career interest survey (STEM-CIS). Res Sci Educ 44(3):461–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Moore KP, Sandholtz JH (1999) Designing successful service learning projects for urban schools. Urb Educ 34(4):480–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Munce R, Fraser E (2013) Where are the STEM students? The alliance for science and technology research in America. www.stemconnector.org. Accessed 8 June 2015
  35. National Academy of Engineering (2009) Grand challenges for engineering. Retrieved April 3, 2011 from http://www.engineeringchallenges.com
  36. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine (2007) Rising above the gathering storm: energizing and employing America for a brighter economic future. National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  37. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine (2011) Expanding underrepresented minority participation: America’s science and technology talent at the crossroads. National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  38. National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (2012) American Indians in engineering. Res Policy 2(2). Retrieved July 2012Google Scholar
  39. National Research Council (2009) Learning science in informal environments: people, places, and pursuits. The National Academies Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  40. National Science Board (2010) Preparing the next generation of STEM innovators: identifying and developing our nation’s human capital. National Science Foundation, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  41. Ornstein A (2006) The frequency of hands-on experimentation and student attitudes toward science: a statistically significant relation (2005-51-Ornstein). J Sci Educ Technol 15:3–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Portwood SG, Ayers PM, Kinnison KE, Waris RG, Wise DL (2005) YouthFriends: outcomes from a school-based mentoring program. J Primary Prev 26(2):129–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2010) Prepare and inspire: K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for America’s future. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  44. Rhodes JE (2005) A model of youth mentoring. In: DuBois DL, Karcher MJ (eds) Handbook of youth mentoring. Sage, Thousand Oaks, pp 30–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rhodes JE (2009) Stand by me: the risks and rewards of mentoring today’s youth, reprint. Harvard University Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  46. Sloan Foundation (2014) Four universities unite in national push to increase American Indian participation in STEM fields. www.sloan.org. Accessed 6 June 2015
  47. Spear Ellinwood K (2009) Funds of knowledge for learning: an overview. The University of Arizona, The UA Science Center, Flandrau, Tucson (unpublished manuscript)Google Scholar
  48. Stevens S, Bernal D, Ruiz B (2008) StrengthBuilding Partners evaluation update. Presentation to StrengthBuilding Partners’ recognition dinner. University of Arizona, Tucson, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  49. Stevens S, Bernal D, Ruiz B (2010) StrengthBuilding Partners evaluation update. Presentation to StrengthBuilding Partner’s recognition dinner. University of Arizona, Tucson, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  50. Stevens S, Andrade R, Korchmaros J, Sharron K (2015) Intergenerational trauma among substance using Native American, Latina, and Caucasian mothers living in southwestern United States. J Soc Work Pract Addict 15(1):6–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tyler-Wood T, Knezek G, Christensen R (2010) Instruments for assessing interest in STEM content and careers. J Technol Teach Educ 18(2):341–363Google Scholar
  52. United States Census (2013) State and county quick facts. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000.html. Accessed 6 June 2015
  53. United States Congress, Diversity and Innovation Caucus (2008) Policy objectives on diversity in STEM: suggestions from stakeholder groups to the D & I Caucus. US Congress, Diversity and Innovation Caucus, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  54. Weinburgh MH, Steele D (2000) The modified attitudes toward science inventory: developing an instrument to be used with fifth grade urban students. J Women Minor Sci Eng 6(1):87–94Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southwest Institute for Research on WomenUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Evaluation Research and DevelopmentUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations