Something Very Fishy An ocean literacy STEAM exhibit impacts how children, teachers, and university students think about science

January 3 – Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

S4-16  Tue Jan 5 16:45 – 17:00  Something Very Fishy: An ocean literacy STEAM exhibit impacts how children, teachers, and university students think about science Childress, MJ*; Tallapragada, M; Prosser, KL; Clemson University; Temple University; Educational Entertainment

Informed by the theory of change for public engagement and decades of research in communication and education, we present a quantitative assessment of a marine science themed STEAM exhibit focused on ocean conservation and climate change. Our target groups included elementary school students and their teachers who attended a musical theatrical production and companion science exhibit manned by university student docents. The school children were provided an SVF student workbook in advance of attending the exhibit and were asked to complete assessments pre and post-exhibit including: (1) a drawing of what it looks like under the sea, (2) choosing their three favorite careers survey, and (3) gauging their feelings and interests in the program survey. For teachers and docents, we used a post exhibit survey to assess their attitudes, knowledge, norms, careers, and intentions toward science, climate change, and ocean literacy. After attending the exhibit children demonstrated an increased awareness of the role that humans have on our oceans and an increased interest in STEM related career options. Elementary teachers showed a positive attitude toward teaching marine conservation and climate change and willingness to participate in further training in these subjects. University student docents that participated in the exhibit as instructors demonstrated an efficacy for teaching marine science and an identity toward science communication as a career. These results have implications for researchers exploring the impact from informal experiences on attitudes, knowledge, norms, intentions, and careers of students, and for practitioners and teachers exploring ways to use art to teach about the environment.

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