Hands-on activities can effectively engage students and promote learning. This paper presents the results of a one-week long summer camp for middle school students. The objective was to impact the attitudes of the participants towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The participants of the camp were from underrepresented groups from two rural school districts. The camp provided opportunities to the participants to learn programming of robots for a maze running competition. This activity was followed by learning how to program quadcopter drones. Several teams of participants then programmed their drones to fly an obstacle course to compete in a ‘drone-derby’. The research design was a within-subject pre-post design. Participants of the camp were administered a validated math and science attitude survey at the beginning and after completion of the camp. This survey measured several dimensions of attitudes. The differences in attitudes between male and female participants were observed. In addition, a survey to determine the effectiveness of the camp was given to the students at the end of the camp.
This work was supported by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
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