Developing High School Students’ STEM Competencies Through a Sports-based Educational Program


Sports is one of the significant drivers capable of fostering cognitive and scholastic skills in the young generation. Its' potential to integrate within diverse scientific and engineering disciplines makes it an ideal motivational tool to attract high school students towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculties at universities and careers. Amid gradual educational reformations in Qatar, a unique sports-driven STEM program was launched to derive the competencies in the secondary students and enhance their STEM literacy and aspirations. The study was based on a program, 'Science in sports' (SIS), intended to steer students' passion in sports to explore the embedded science and gradually evolve into aspirants in STEM fields. The study emphasizes the program's successful integration of science in sports by solving engineering design challenges that arise while developing a sports product. The 248 participants from 15 secondary schools actively engaged in sports product-based scientific workshops and an engineering design challenge, bridging the gap between science and sports. Results implicating the active involvement of the students, manifesting the quintessential 21st-century skills in engineering products, were drawn out from both qualitative and quantitative methods. Substantiating observations of the facilitators, review of sports products, and statistical analysis of pre-post surveys validated the productive outcomes from the program, which included enhanced STEM attitudes and competency. The SWOT matrix laid out the strengths of the well-structured program in addition to the limitations in providing an analysis of participant performance in international standard assessment tests as the aftermath.

Author Information
Noora J. Al-Thani, Qatar University, Qatar
Ruba Ali, Qatar University, Qatar

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2021
Stream: Educational Research

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon