Families and Museums Exploring (FAME)
How can families and museums help kids become scientists? NC State is working to find out by partnering with three museums–Marbles Kids Museum, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences–to engage families in STEM activities and encourage students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Research shows that kids in families who engage in activities together are more likely to continue those activities as they get older. If we create an environment where youth and their families see science and engineering as something they do for fun and where they feel supported and valued, they will develop an interest in exploring science and engineering beyond the life of the project. By engaging the families with scientists and engineers in an immersive experience, we can transform their knowledge and views of STEM careers.
The lack of students who choose to major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields is a growing concern in the United States and across the world. Because an individual’s attitudes and understandings of STEM are likely shaped by “an individual’s direct, personal experiences, needs, expectations, and culture” it is important to address the issue from a systems perspective. Family Influence: Family culture plays a vital role in developing STEM interests. Parents have been shown to be important in encouraging the STEM interests of youth. Parents who discuss the value and importance of STEM tend to have children with a higher level of self-efficacy and STEM outcome expectancies. Youths’ interest in STEM careers is related to their families’ science capital and science habitus. However, most programs aimed at increasing youth interest and career aspirations focus on the youth and little is known about programs that seek to approach the problem from a systems perspective. Of particular importance is increasing the tools parents have to support the STEM interests and career aspirations of their children.
Dr Emily Martha Cayton
Dr Megan Elizabeth Ennes
Pamela Marler Huff
Emma Jane Refvem