Thesis Title

Evaluation Of An After School Science Enrichment Program For Elementary School Students

Date of Graduation

Spring 2002


Master of Science in Materials Science


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Committee Chair

Kandiah Manivannan

Subject Categories

Materials Science and Engineering


Two hundred and forty-two students in grades two through five attended eight to ten hours of after school science enrichment classes over a course of seven to eight weeks. These classes were offered free of charge at the Discovery Center of Springfield, an interactive science museum in Springfield, Missouri. One assessment conducted at the Center through an electronic audience response system showed mean content knowledge gain of 33%. This assessment was designed to elicit common misconceptions about the physical world and focused on the specific topics students had studied. In another pre- and post-test series at the Center, students were given two minutes to list words they associated with science. This part of the study showed a 25% increase in responses showing a broad and detailed definition of science as a discipline. However, students' science grades and attendance at school showed no significant changes. Overall, this study showed that significant improvements can be made in elementary school students' science performance with a minimal investment in after school science enrichment programs.


© Jonathan Shearer