Who Are the Schools, Teachers, and Children Engaged in SABES?


Over the five years of the project, SABES will directly engage approximately forty STEM teachers and more than 1,600 grade 35 students at nine elementary schools. The project seeks to create a communitywide culture of STEM learning relevant to the lives of its participants in ways that engage caregivers to sustain student curiosity outside of the classroom.


Table 1: Characteristics of SABES Students Impacted in the First Two Years of Implementation



Free/Reduced Lunch


English Language Learners


Special Education










Number of Students




Successes To This Day

SABES STEM Showcases

Twice a year, SABES hosts STEM Showcases that bring teachers, students, families, other community members, and university-based partners together to celebrate and showcase STEM activities by students. Total attendance at our fall 2013 STEM Showcases was more than 350 people. In the spring of 2014 and 2015, over 400 people attended our STEM Showcases at the Maryland Science Center. Photos and videos of our STEM showcase can be found at: https://engineering.jhu.edu/sabes/sabes-out-of-school/photos/.


Promising Survey Results

After one year of implementation, results of students’ surveys are promising. As Table 2 shows, when asked the question “What do you think of when you hear the words engineer or engineering?” the proportion of students who offered an “acceptable” answer that indicated an understanding of what an engineer does was significantly higher in the schools where SABES had been in place for one year. In schools that had agreed to SABES but had not yet implemented the program, 20% of children offered an acceptable answer. This is not a trivial number of “acceptable” answers, but in schools where SABES had been underway for a year the proportion of students with “acceptable” answers was 53%.


Students offered many kinds of acceptable answers, and not all of them differed across the schools. Over twice as many students referred to “building things” in schools where SABES was underway in comparison to schools where SABES was yet to begin (38% and 17%, respectively). Students wrote about “fixing things” twice as often in schools where SABES was present (10% vs. 5%), and wrote about “creating things” at much higher rates (8% vs. 2%). These three differences were statistically detectable. Although references to STEM were close to statistical significance (p = 0.068), there were no detectable differences among the other types of “acceptable” answers. It is important to point out that there is an observable difference in the proportion of students who state on the survey that they wish to be an engineer when they grow up (15% vs. 6%), which is promising when one considers the historical underrepresentation of Blacks and Hispanics in the STEM fields.


Table 2: Wave 1 and Wave 2 SABES Schools in 2014

“What do you think of when you hear the words engineer or engineering?”

Wave 1 Schools: Post-SABES Wave 2 Schools: Pre-SABES Difference p

Acceptable Answer

53% 20% 33%


Positive Response

15% 15% 0%


Wants to be an Engineer

3% 4% -1%


Types of Acceptable Answers

Building Things

38% 17% 21%


STEM Related

4% 1% 3%


Fixing Things

10% 5% 5%


Inventing Things

5% 4% 1%


Creating Things

8% 2% 6%


Designing Things

4% 2% 2%


Other Survey Questions+

“I know what engineers do in their jobs.”

59% 43% 16%


“When I am grown up, I would like to be a scientist.”

17% 17% 0%


“When I am grown up, I would like to be an engineer.”

15% 6% 9%


Number of Students 254 102
Notes: + Proportion of students choosing “Yes” from Yes/Maybe/No options.




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