Summative Evaluation of The Engineering MISSION: Engineering for Middle School Science, Inspiration, and Opportunity Project
The Museum of Science, Boston partnered with Goddard Space Flight Center and Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium to develop educational resources around aeronautical and aerospace engineering. The main goals of the project were to increase the awareness of engineering work done during NASA missions, to engage children in the Engineering Design Process (EDP), and to support educators developing engineering-focused curricula. The study evaluated three main deliverables: 1) A planetarium program featuring NASA’s robotic missions of discovery, 2) A summer teacher workshop designed for middle school teachers, and 3) Out-of-school time units focused on aerospace engineering activities. A total of 126 general visitors, 124 middle-school students, and 43 teachers/educators participated in the evaluation. Methods included interviews, surveys and group discussions. The findings indicated the Engineering MISSION program successfully engaged multiple audiences in engineering and the EDP. The planetarium program engaged students and the general public in NASA’s engineering efforts in designing, testing, and launching current missions into space. The feature From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA explores the Goddard Space Flight Center’s testing facilities, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Teachers who participated in the summer workshop felt more knowledgeable and confident about engaging students in the EDP, as well as related science and technology topics. Participation in the Engineering Adventures out-of-school time units resulted in positive outcomes for both teachers and students. Educators reported their students being more engaged, and having more enthusiasm toward engineering activities. Appendix includes instruments.