Discipline: Biological Sciences
Zola N. Roper - University of the Virgin Islands
African-Americans are underrepresented in marine sciences and there is a great need for Caribbean people who will be scientific leaders in the future management of marine resources. Youth Ocean Explorers (YOE) is a 4 week-long summer program held from to July 11th to August 5th 2016 for students in grades 7 through 12, aimed to foster environmental stewardship ethics within the selected 24 students. YOE was created to offer experiential learning opportunities in marine science during the summer and at an age when students are most likely to lose interest in science. This study serves to evaluate students’ baseline marine science knowledge and compare it to knowledge learned during the camp via the use of Pre and Post test evaluations. I hypothesized that students’ Post test responses will significantly improve compared to their Pre test responses due to them being engaged in the newly configured YOE curriculum. On day 1, students completed a survey that gauged their knowledge of marine science, environmental awareness, attitudes towards marine science and their actual commitment towards the environment. Over the course of the program, the students received daily lectures on scientific concepts that incorporated elements of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which were followed by several hands-on field activities that helped to reinforce those concepts. At the conclusion of the program, students were administered the Post test; results were pooled in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using a Chi-Square Analysis, significance was taken at p <0.05. For questions assessing attitudes, only three questions showed a statistically significant change between the Pre test and Post test. For questions assessing factual knowledge of the ocean, five questions showed a statistically significant gain between the Pre test and the Post test. The results based on student attitudes suggest that some of the students had a moderate degree of environmental stewardship ethics prior to the program. Conversely, the results from the knowledge based questions suggest that the YOE curriculum provided students with enough experimental learning opportunities to enhance their retention of material. Replication of this study in future years will help to increase the sample size and further validate the YOE curriculum.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Emerging Caribbean Scientist Program and The National Science Foundation.
Faculty Advisor: Howard Forbes Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I did all.