Exploring Latinx Parent Involvement in Informal Science Activities

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Izaak J. De Leon
Julie F. Westerlund


Diversity has been shown to improve the ability of groups to problem solve and make predictions, as well as guarding against groupthink and overconfidence. Marginalized groups within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are still largely underrepresented despite various efforts to increase diversity in STEM. This study focused on the gap in representation of Hispanics/Latinxs in the STEM fields. While most science programs focus on directly encouraging students to pursue STEM careers as a way to increase Latinx representation, our study focused on Latinx parents. This study explored the types of informal science activities Latinx parents engage in with their children. In order to connect with Latinx parents, we organized 15 family science night events in a small city in central Texas that has a large Hispanic population. At the events, parents completed a parental involvement survey to find out what types of informal science activities they are involved in with their children. We utilized common household items or materials that were inexpensive in designing the activities for the family science events to ensure they were accessible to all families. Eighteen Latinx parents participated in the study. On the parental involvement survey, Latinx parents identified 27 science activities that they have performed with their children, with 63% of those being structured and indoor activities and 59% being free activities. In terms of parent participation, the majority of Latinx parents (73%) preferred free activities. This study outlines the design of family science events and can help inform school districts, principals, teachers, and informal science education organizations on strategies for increasing Latinx parents’ involvement in their childrens’ science education.

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Research / Empirical