Creating, Implementing, and Evaluating the Use of a Food Science and Technology 5E Based Curriculum Impact on Underrepresented Minority Youth Engagement in Science
Increasing underrepresented minority youth (URMY) engagement in STEM education remains at the forefront of our Nation's educational battle. The aim of this study was to create, implement, and evaluate the impact of innovative food science and technology (FST) lesson plans on URMY engagement in, and attitudes towards science, and their awareness of the field of FST. The 2011 United States census recalls that URMY make up only 13.3% of the STEM workforce. This study identifies URMY as individuals representing one or more of the following demographics: Low income, African American, Latino(a) American, and Indian American. Eight 5th-6th grade youth participated in a seven-week program, The Enliven Program (TEP), which is a STEM education program created for the purpose of this. The Enliven Program focuses on youth engagement in science learning through the implementation of a FST curriculum. The lessons delivered in TEP utilized the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) 5E instructional model as its foundation. This model focuses on five phases of student centered learning: engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. Data was collected using a fixed-mixed methods design. A qual-quan approach was employed to measure youths' positive behavioral and cognitive engagement in science learning. Measures of positive behavioral and cognitive engagement demonstrated that youth were positively behaviorally and cognitively engaged in the science learning activities. Furthermore, relationship building played an instrumental role in maintaining youth participants' positive attitudes towards and engagement in TEP activities. The results display an overall increase in youth's desire to do science and self-concept in science.