Middle School Science Readiness Program
This project focuses on the critical drop-off point between elementary and middle school, often identified as the first major roadblock to the success and interest of students in STEM. To help elementary students successfully transition to middle school science, the Principal Investigator will design, implement and test a model after-school program (Middle School Science Readiness program) aimed at supporting science teaching and learning at this critical juncture. The model uses year-long activities in real-world science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields such as aerospace (NASA-Johnson Space Center), energy (petrochemical industry), and biotechnology (Texas Medical Center). Sixteen teachers and 320 students from eight high need elementary schools in Houston will participate in this after-school program. Through a longstanding partnership with the Houston Independent School District (HISD), Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) will engage an interdisciplinary project team (e.g., university faculty members from STEM disciplines, educational psychologist, data managers, online education providers, principals, teacher leaders, and parents) to develop the model program. Within the STEM learning experiences, the project embeds language and social skills that support career awareness in STEM related fields. The PI uses a quasi-experimental design and an external evaluator for methodology and assessment, respectively. The project will disseminate the model after-school program without charge, locally and nationally via BCM award-winning websites, BioEd Online (www.bioedonline.org), and K8 Science (www.k8science.org).