Date of this Version
Ney, K. (2020). Designing a week-long biomedical engineering summer camp to increase young students’ interest and self-efficacy in STEM. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
In order to combat the negative feelings many young students have towards STEM, I designed a week-long summer camp that teaches students about biomedical engineering as well as collaboration, communication, and confidence with STEM subjects. This work includes a literature review outlining what STEM is and current issues in STEM education, including disinterest in STEM and attrition in STEM degree programs. The literature review outlines current methods and ideas being utilized to combat these issues, namely, inclusive pedagogical strategies, and how some of these concepts can be applied to the summer camp. The curriculum document included outlines each activity, its purpose, supplies needed, and the procedure of the activity. Each day of the camp covers a different area of biomedical engineering with corresponding activities, including biomaterial, biomechanical, and tissue engineering, and medical imaging. The final day of the camp includes a team design project that incorporates the skills and concepts the campers learned the previous days. The camp also includes a field trip to the Biomechanics Research Building at UNO and a question-and-answer session with a biomedical engineering college student. While camp activities are centered around biomedical engineering, lessons will also focus on fostering a growth mindset through the use of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) activities. SEL activities use collaboration, reflection, and learning from failure to establish a positive mindset that can help students persevere though challenges. The goal of this camp is to give young students a positive STEM experience that focuses on project-based learning and demonstrate how STEM subjects are applied creatively to solve real-world problems and improve lives.