Use of aquaponics project-based environments to improve students’ perception of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and career pathways
Kenneth R. Thompson 1 * , Carl D. Webster 2 , Kirk W. Pomper 1 , Rebecca M. Krall 3
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1 College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY, USA2 USDA-ARS Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center, Stuttgart, AR, USA3 College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA* Corresponding Author


There is a need for secondary schools to provide more authentic, hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and specifically, more project-based investigation (PBI) environments in the classroom that manifest the next generation science standards following practices they prescribe. This study investigated how, and to what extent, a contextualized aquaponics project-based investigation (APBI) 10-week model unit affected high school students’ attitudes toward STEM, aquaculture and aquaponics, and interest in future STEM-related disciplines and/or STEM career pathways. Currently, there is little research literature on how APBI may engage students in initiating affective attitudes and interest in STEM and aquaculture/aquaponics fields as a career choice. Using a quantitative method, quasi-experimental research design, three different student groups participated in the hands-on APBI intervention and were given a pre- and post-attitude/interest survey (n=55). The 12 survey items were rated by a 5-point Likert-type scale that measured changes in student interest and attitudes toward STEM as discipline and area of interest. In addition, the survey included a profile of the respondents with the demographic items. The results revealed that the intervention contributed to students’ positive attitudes toward STEM in general, and aquaculture and aquaponics, and to students’ developing an interest in STEM disciplines and/or STEM career pursuits. Results suggest that APBI models may be effective in attracting students to STEM-related disciplines and careers.


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Article Type: Research Article

INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2023, Article No: e2309

Publication date: 01 Apr 2023

Online publication date: 21 Mar 2023

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