Student Author(s)

Kylie DeKryger

Faculty Mentor(s)

Carrie Dummer, Chemistry and Education

Document Type


Event Date



The Hope College Summer Science Camps were founded by Tod Gugino in 1997 to provide fun, engaging, hands-on science experiences for local K-5 students. The first summer involved 2 camps and served approximately 50 children. Over the past 20 years, the camps have expanded to the point where there are now 50 offerings, serving over 800 K-12 students during 6 weeks in the summer. In addition, 15-20 Hope College students gain experiential learning as they lead the camps and plan curriculum each summer. Recently, an effort has been made to align the science camp content with the Next Generation Science Standards. We were also interested in discovering how effective the camps are at increasing campers’ STEM knowledge. Several studies show that educational outreach programs like summer science camps increase K-12 students’ interest in and positive attitudes towards STEM-related fields, such as the one conducted by Crombie, Walsh, and Trinneer [1]. However, do these increases also pair with an increase in knowledge of these subjects? Studies like the one conducted by Foster and Shiel-Rolle show that “short-term outreach activities can have a positive impact on the scientific literacy and long-term career goals of the participants” [2]. To assess levels of knowledge, most studies use a pre-test/post-test method [2,3,4] in which students take a quiz to assess their knowledge of content before the camp or activities begin and then take the same quiz at the end of the camp or activities. This is the approach that we chose to use. Across the board, the students achieved gains in knowledge. The data collected will serve as a baseline for future summer work as we continue to align the camps to standards and assess the effectiveness of the instruction. References References 1. Crombie G, Walsh J, Trinneer A. Positive Effects of Science and Technology Summer Camps on Confidence, Values, and Future Intentions. Canadian Journal of Counselling. 2003;37(4):256-269. 2. Foster J, Shiel-Rolle N. Building scientific literacy through summer science camps: a strategy for design, implementation and assessment. Science Education International. 2017;22(2):85-98. 3. Thomas C. Assessing High School Student Learning on Science Outreach Lab Activities. Journal of Chemical Education. 2012;89(10):1259-1263. 4. Moskal B, Skokan C, Kosbar L, Dean A, Westland C, Barker H, Nguyen Q, Tafoya J. K-12 Outreach: Identifying the Broader Impacts of Four Outreach Projects. Journal of Engineering Education. 2007;96(3):173-189.