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Special Issue: Addressing Gender Inequities in STEM through Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Published: 19-12-2022

Increasing Middle School Girls’ STEM Self-Efficacy with Soldering, Robots, and Mobius Strips

Virginia Commonwealth University CodeVA

Anita Crowder

STEM Education Researcher
STEM, Self-efficacy, Identity


This case study explores the impact of an innovative four-day STEM camp for middle school girls from underserved communities in the United States on participants’ STEM self-efficacy. STEM self-efficacy has been positively correlated to persistence and achievement in STEM subjects (Bandura & Locke, 2003), particularly for girls (Larose et al., 2006). Bandura (1977) wrote that the four sources of self-confidence are performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal. The camp was designed to use a pedagogy of play and non-stereotypical activities to support youth agency and provide those four inputs to improve girls’ attitudes toward STEM and STEM self-efficacy. The camp was facilitated by an all-female volunteer team of adults and secondary students to help enhance a sense of belonging. Each day focused on a different STEM field: science (Monday), technology (Tuesday), engineering (Wednesday), and mathematics (Thursday). Participants completed pre- and post-surveys on STEM attitudes and self-efficacy, created and shared reflective daily presentations (Coutinho, 2008), and took part in closing focus groups. Framework analysis of focus group transcripts and youth presentations identified four themes
reflecting Bandura’s supports for self-confidence.

How to Cite

Crowder, A., & Whittle, K. (2022). Increasing Middle School Girls’ STEM Self-Efficacy with Soldering, Robots, and Mobius Strips. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 14(2), 232–246. Retrieved from