Middle School Sustainable Outreach Fun Activities In Math and Engineering A 2 Year Case Study Page 15 872 2 Abstract It has been well documented that out of time STEM programs positively impacts the students and facilitators involved However we have yet to understand the sustained impact of middle school afterschool programs on its stakeholders RAMP UP Recognizing Accelerated Math Potential in Underrepresented People a National Science Foundation funded GK 12 outreach program at North Carolina State University NCSU has established the Fun Activities in Math and Engineering FAME at a local inner city middle school The facilitators of FAME were undergraduate and graduate Fellows and middle school math teachers The objectives of this program were to re enforce basic math concepts learned in the classroom and to expose the students to several fields of engineering while involving in hands on engineering activities For example the activities incorporated understanding the key principles of engineering design mathematical estimation and extrapolation and how to appropriately collect data skills which are clearly cross disciplinary The FAME program was conducted weekly on a semester basis for 2 years Fall 2007 through Spring 2009 Quantitative data in the form of surveys were collected at the end of each semester for the students involved In addition qualitative assessment data from the facilitators has been collected In this paper we use the FAME program as a case study to evaluate the sustained impact of middle school after school programs This study reveals the positive relationship between the students and facilitators and improved student and facilitator attitudes towards STEM fields throughout the 2 year period Introduction Participation in afterschool programs has been shown to be associated with educational success including greater engagement in learning and higher academic performance 4 Programs based in the science technology engineering and mathematics STEM have often shaped and developed future scientists For students to succeed in STEM fields Jolly Campbell and Perlman3 suggest the necessary trilogy engagement capacity and continuity Meaning students are engaged by having interests and motivation for the involvement in the sciences student have the capacity or required skills needed to advance in these disciplines and students have the academic support and material resources continuity needed for these interests After school programs can provide a vehicle for realization of this trilogy outside of the classroom STEM based university and industry outreach programs have proven to greatly impact the community they serve However sometimes university or industry supported STEM outreach programs are comprised of a one day activity demonstration exposing the youths to STEM fields Though great in their attempts these one day programs fail to develop mentor relationships between students and facilitators It is this mentorship that has proven to profoundly impact the views of STEM fields of the students participating in these programs 1 We define sustainable STEM outreach as a partnership that maintains fosters and promotes long lasting interests in STEM fields Page 15 872 3 RAMP UP Recognizing Accelerated Math Potential in Underrepresented People a National Science Foundation funded GK 12 outreach program at North Carolina State University has established the weekly Fun Applications in Math and Engineering FAME at a local inner city middle school The aims of this afterschool program were to exposed students to several areas of applied mathematics and engineering by engaging in hand on activities and reinforcing basic math skills while tutoring In this paper we use the FAME program as a case study to evaluate the sustained impact of middle school after school programs This study reveals the attitudes toward math and science for the students and the mentorship role of the facilitators involved in the FAME program Program description RAMP UP RAMP UP is a partnership between North Carolina State University and Wake County Public School System that is funded by grants from the National Science and GE Foundations The program consists of principle investigators an engineering project coordinator graduate Fellows and undergraduate Fellows in science technology engineering or math STEM and secondary math education The undergraduate Fellows work with teachers at local public schools to plan and implement inquiry based mathematics lessons that demonstrate the practical application of mathematical theory in the classroom The graduate Fellow serves as a mentor for the K 12 students and undergraduate Fellows and coordinates the program at their respective schools The graduate Fellow also works to establish tutorial programs and clubs before and after school helps with science fairs and coordinates family math nights to service the community Fun Applications of Math and Engineering FAME In 2006 a pilot FAME program was developed at a local middle school Students 6th 8th grade were recommended by their math teachers to participate Once a week for an hour students would engage in hands on engineering based activities facilitated by a graduate Fellow undergraduate Fellows and a math teacher Roughly ten students were recommended for this program however maintaining attendance at times proved difficult In addition the structure of the school day did not support the maintenance of this pilot program The school day began at 7 30 in the morning and it was difficult to retain students until 5pm when the school transportation was available The FAME program was did not continue at this school The structure of the school day at another RAMP UP supported middle school was more conducive to administering an afterschool program In the spring of 2007 RAMP UP launched the FAME program at this school from 3 20 pm 4 50 pm each Wednesday for roughly 7 weeks The first 50 minutes were allotted for the tutorial where students received help with homework and understanding core mathematical concepts and the remaining 40 minutes were dedicated to the math engineering activity As in the previous Page 15 872 4 pilot program students were recommended by their math teachers to participate However unlike the pilot program in the spring 2007 there was an open invitation with a permission slip provided by their teacher each week for students to attend this program Thus there was not necessarily the same group of children in the program each week More than often the same students would regularly attend On average about 18 students each week participated in FAME during the spring of 2007 In the fall 2007 the FAME program was continued at this school and the interest for this program nearly doubled to about 35 students participating each week The support staff increased to 4 undergraduate Fellows and the children were divided into two classrooms in order to have enough space for the activities In the spring of 2008 it was suggested that each math teacher 9 math teachers total in this school only recommend 2 students each week and the students had to provide a signed permission slip each week On average 15 students participated each week in the spring of 2008 The program continued at this school in this fashion each semester and on average 10 and 7 students participated in this program in the fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters respectively From 2007 onward at the beginning of each semester the Fellows took 5 minutes to talk about themselves and their future career plans In addition throughout the program we held open forums where students asked questions to the Fellows on any topic at the closing of each activity Table 1 details the structure of the FAME program at this school throughout the 2 year period Table 1 Description of FAME from 2007 through 2009 FAME Date implemented Spring 2007 Fall 2007 Spring 2008 Fall 2008 Spring 2009 Number of 1 Graduate 1 Graduate 1 Graduate 1 Graduate 1 Graduate participants Fellow Fellow Fellow Fellow Fellow 1 Math Teacher 2 Math Teacher 1 Math Teacher 1 Math Teacher 1 Math Teacher 2 Fellows 4 Fellows 3 Fellows 3 Fellows 3 Fellows Average number of 18 35 15 10 7 students session Number of sessions 7 7 7 7 7 held Algebra geometry and basic physics of motion and force were some of the topics that the student explored During the activities students learned algebraic relationships graphing skills and how to interpret data they collected Hands on Activities Activities were administered by RAMP UP Fellows In the spring of 2008 each undergraduate Fellow facilitator was required to lead the students through at least one activity The activities covered the topics of algebra geometry and core physics principles The students were also exposed to the key principles of engineering design learned how to collect data and how to use measurement tools accurately Many of the activities were taken from math or engineering resources where they were adjusted for Page 15 872 5 the time allowance or age group of the students while other activities were uniquely developed by the Fellow Students also learned to work in collectively in groups and

. NCSU has established the Fun Activities in Math and Engineering FAME at a local inner city middle school The facilitators of FAME were undergraduate and g raduate Fellows and middle school math teachers The objectives of this program were to r e enforce basic math concepts learned in the classroom and to expose the students to

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