INVESTIGATING THE FACTORS THAT MOTIVATE AND ENGAGE NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS IN MATH AND SCIENCE ON THE DUCK VALLEY INDIAN RESERVATION FOLLOWING PARTICIPATION IN THE NASA SUMMER OF INNOVATION PROGRAM
Thesis (Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction) -- University of Idaho, December 2014 | In response to the Obama Administration's launch of the "Educate to Innovate" campaign in 2010, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed the NASA Summer of Innovation (SOI) program, designed to bring NASA educational materials to students and teachers in underserved and underrepresented communities. This study consisted of a mixed methods analysis to determine if the students on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in southern Idaho experienced a positive change in attitude toward math and science due to their participation in the 2010 NASA SOI, both in the short-term and over a three-year period. Specifically, the quantitative analyses consisted of single-subject visual
analysis, a paired-samples t-test, and a factorial ANOVA to analyze baseline and follow-up surveys conducted before and immediately after the summer program. Also, a qualitative case study was conducted to determine if the NASA SOI had a lasting impact on the students' positive attitude toward math and science, three years after the completion of the program. The results of the quantitative analyses did not indicate a statistically significant effect of the summer program on the attitudes of the students with respect to science and mathematics over the course of the program (time), between genders, or a combination of both time and gender. However, the narratives derived from the case study indicated the students' attitudes toward science were increased following their participation in the summer program. The qualitative data supported previous research on the importance of family, culture, hands-on experiential and collaborative learning as essential components in Native American students' motivation and engagement with respect to education and science. Additionally, the study found an absence of curriculum that presented historical examples of Native Americans as natural scientists and engineers.