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Effects of Biosphere 2 Summer Science Academy on Students' Attitudes about Science
STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Program Posters
The Biosphere 2 Summer Science Academy is a week-long residential science outreach program focused on experiential learning and research at Biosphere 2 in Arizona. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the Biosphere 2 Summer Science Academy in influencing students’ attitudes toward science and leadership. Participants included 43 middle school students (22 male and 21 female) and 45 high school students (23 male and 22 female). A utilization-focused approach to evaluation was used in the survey design. Survey results will be used to provide feedback for future program improvement. A pre and post participant questionnaire included demographic questions, rating questions, structured questions, and open-ended questions. Student attitudes were self-reported through use of a Likert scale and written responses to open-ended questions. Survey data was used to assess students’ attitudes toward science, leadership development, and overall educational experience. Results showed a significant difference in students’ reported attitudes toward science and leadership following participation in the Biosphere 2 Summer Science Academy. Middle school participants reported increased positive attitudes toward science, including participant identity as a scientist and intent to pursue science in college. High school participants also reported increased comfort working in groups. Evidence suggests that Biosphere 2 Summer Science Academy is effective in promoting positive attitudes about science and leadership in participants.