Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gabrielle Strouse


Student engagement in math and science courses decreases starting in middle school and continues throughout high school (Museus et al., 2011). This lack of engagement results in students taking only the required math and science coursework and not advanced coursework that would help prepare them for future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning activities may be used to promote student engagement and learning. This experimental design study was conducted with students in grades 3-5 in one rural mid-sized school district in the upper mid-west. Student engagement was analyzed using a pre/post-survey. Content-specific learning was analyzed using a pre/post-test. Modeling analysis measured the extent to which lesson type, integrated STEM lesson or traditional non-integrated lesson, predicted student engagement and learning. Additionally, I examined the extent to which engagement mediates the relationship between lesson type and student learning. Findings from this study indicate that integrated STEM learning activities increased student engagement, which may lead to students taking additional math and science courses in high school and pursuing a future in a high-demand STEM career.

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Educational Psychology


experimental design, integrated STEM, math, science, STEM technology

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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