Design and Implementation of Practical Workshops for Teaching STEM Content: Analysis of Cognitive and Emotional Variables

Design and Implementation of Practical Workshops for Teaching STEM Content: Analysis of Cognitive and Emotional Variables

Milagros Mateos Núñez, Guadalupe Martínez Borreguero
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5765-8.ch006
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The main objective of this work has been to assess the potential cognitive and emotional benefits of several practical experiences integrating STEM areas. A sample of 13 students in the 6th grade of primary school was accessed. Several questionnaires were designed, depending on the contents to be dealt with, and were applied at different times in order to ascertain the evolution of the variables under study. The data from the post-tests applied after the workshops confirm that the practical and integrated sessions carried out with the students improve the level of knowledge, even finding statistically significant differences (Sig.< 0.05) with respect to the initial values. The emotional results show that following an active and integrated methodology has benefited the promotion of positive emotions in the participants.
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Currently, there is a deficit of entrepreneurial and creative individuals who possess critical thinking and communication skills, who can work cooperatively, find solutions to everyday problems, and use technology well in everyday situations (Tanik-Onal & Saylan- Kirmizigul, 2021). More recent studies confirm that as students move from elementary school to high school, many choose not to pursue science (King et al., 2015; Vazquez & Manassero, 2011). The causes that may lead to this academic decline are linked to students' affective domain (Mellado et al., 2014; Osborne et al., 2003). Experts in the field point out that there is an emotional decline throughout schooling (Murphy & Beggs, 2003; Vázquez & Manassero, 2011; Mateos-Núñez et al., 2019a). Generally, elementary school students tend to have positive emotions and attitudes towards mathematics and science learning (Mateos-Núñez et al., 2019a; Martínez-Borreguero et al., 2020), but these attitudes decrease with age, especially during secondary education (Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2008; Marbá & Márquez, 2010; Vázquez & Manassero, 2008). Specifically, previous studies show worrying results about the attitudes of secondary school students towards scientific-technological subjects (Mellado et al., 2014; Pérez & de Pro, 2013), especially towards the subject of Physics and Chemistry (Dávila et al., 2016), as most students describe the content of these classes as boring, difficult and distant from their own reality (Cleaves 2005; Lyons, 2006; Osborne et al., 2003). Consequently, the role played by the teacher is considered decisive in the face of this motivational problem, which places the teacher as one of the main actors in promoting vocations (Mellado et al., 2014) and fostering an adequate scientific-technological literacy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Teaching Methodologies: A set of strategies, procedures and actions organized by the teacher to facilitate student learning.

Self-Efficacy: Confidence in one's own ability to achieve the objectives set.

Teacher Training: Set of courses or academic events with official validity, which aim to enable the practice and/or update those who perform teaching functions, in the theories, procedures and techniques for teaching.

Primary Education: Stage of the Spanish educational system comprising six academic years to be taken ordinarily between six and twelve years of age.

Level of Knowledge: Learning acquired after the formal explanation of a series of contents.

Stem Education: Educational paradigm aimed at teaching science, mathematics, technology, and engineering together.

Emotions: Reaction to the information received from our environment, the intensity of which depends on the subjective evaluations we make and where previous knowledge and beliefs have a great influence.

Workshops: Science and technology dissemination media that seeks to leave behind the one-way transmission of information, in order to build experiences and knowledge relevant to the participants.

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