Examining 4-H Robotics in the Learning of Science, Engineering and Technology Topics and the Related Student Attitudes

Bradley S. Barker, Gwen Nugent, Neal Grandgenett, Amy Hampton

Abstract


Youths’ natural fascination and identification with robots make them an ideal teaching and learning platform. Robots would seem to be excellent hands-on tools to teach science, engineering and technology (SET) concepts. However, while research supports their use to increase interest and motivation, the effectiveness of robots to directly teach science, engineering, and technology concepts is less clear. The purpose of this study was to measure the effectiveness of a 4-H robotics program to support the learning of specific SET concepts and to examine related student attitudes towards science. This study compared the pretest and posttest scores on an assessment of basic SET concepts and attitudes of youth who participated in the 4-H robotics intervention with the scores of youth in a control group. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results revealed that youth in the robotics intervention scored better on a SET concepts posttest. Student attitudes toward science were also investigated. The results suggested that educational robotics can engage youth in activities that support their learning of SET topics, but that it may have more limited impact on general student attitudes towards science, as measured by the study's attitudinal instrument.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2008.329

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