How Does Hands-On Making Attitude Predict Epistemic Curiosity and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Career Interests? Evidence From an International Exhibition of Young Inventors

Frontiers in Psychology 13:859179 (2022)
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Whether the hands-on experience of creating inventions can promote Students’ interest in pursuing a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career has not been extensively studied. In a quantitative study, we drew on the attitude-behavior-outcome framework to explore the correlates between hands-on making attitude, epistemic curiosities, and career interest. This study targeted students who joined the selection competition for participating in the International Exhibition of Young Inventors (IEYI) in Taiwan. The objective of the invention exhibition is to encourage young students to make innovative projects by applying STEM knowledge and collaborative design. We collected 220 valid data from participants in the 2021 Taiwan IEYI selection competition and conducted a confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses. Results indicated that: (1) hands-on making attitude was positively related to two types of epistemic curiosity; (2) interest-type epistemic curiosity (IEC) and deprivation-type epistemic curiosity (DEC) were positively associated with STEM career interest; additionally, DEC had a higher coefficient on STEM career interest than IEC; (3) both types of EC had a mediating role between hands-on making attitude and STEM career interest. It is expected that encouraging students to participate in invention exhibition competitions can raise both types of EC and increase their interest in pursuing STEM careers.
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