Evaluating Large-Scale STEM Outreach Efficacy with a Consistent Theme: Thermodynamics for Elementary School Students

A biannual chemistry demonstration-based show named “Energy and U” was created to extend the general outreach themes of STEM fields and a college education with a specific goal: to teach the First Law of Thermodynamics to elementary school students. Energy is a central concept in chemical education, most STEM disciplines, and it is the concept at the foundation of many of the greatest challenges faced by society today. The effectiveness of the program was analyzed using a clicker survey system. This study provides one of the first examples of incorporating real-time feedback into large- scale chemistry-based outreach events for elementary school students in order to quantify and better understand the broader impact and learning outcomes.