From Project Mercury to Planet Mars Summative Evaluation
The Museum of Science, Boston led the From Project Mercury to Planet Mars: Introducing Engineering and Inspiring Youth through Humanity’s Greatest Adventure project (FPMPM) as a way to produce and share high-quality informal engineering education opportunities about the topic of human space travel to Mars. The grant involved the creation of two products that address human space travel to Mars: an immersive full-dome planetarium show and a hands-on engineering design challenge. To evaluate the grant work, the Research & Evaluation Department at the Museum of Science, Boston conducted a summative evaluation study that gathered surveys, interviews, and observations from more than 100 youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston who viewed the planetarium show and participated in the design challenge. The evaluation assessed what participants learned, the extent to which the content increased participants’ opinions that space exploration is important, the extent to which the content increased youth’s interest in future activities and careers in engineering and science, the extent of youth engagement with the content, and the extent to which participants recognize that they did things like what engineers do. Key findings include the planetarium show supporting learning about the technology and engineering involved in human space travel and design challenge respondents reporting increased interest in learning about human space exploration at school, taking college classes in science or engineering, and becoming a scientist or engineer.
Appendix includes survey and literature review.
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