June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.103.1 - 26.103.19
A Robotics-Focused Instructional Framework for Design-Based Research in Middle School Classrooms Design-based research (DBR) is an iterative process in which teaching and learning theories arecreated and improved with empirical evidence to gain an understanding of how and why thedesigned learning works. In this paper, we employ the constructs of DBR, in the context of arobotics-based instructional framework, to support both student and teacher learning in severalways. First, the use of robotics serves to help stimulate an interest in science, technology,engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning for students. Second, the different learning stylesof audio, visual, and kinesthetic are supported through the use of a robotics platform, offeringteachers more versatility within lesson plans while effectively reaching all students. Third,robotics can help break the silos of the underlying disciplines of STEM to help realize the visionof integrating these disciplines. Such integration can show the students and teachers therelationship between different classroom topics and their relevancy to real-world problems.The paper will present an examination of the process of DBR while incorporating a robotics-based instructional framework to develop theories and artifacts that will help enhance andengage students in STEM fields. The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 educational kit is used in theclassroom for all lessons, offering a hands-on, interactive learning environment. Furthermore, theuse of instructional scaffolding is integrated into the robotics learning sequence to help thestudents progress through the lessons while internalizing the knowledge needed to completegiven tasks. Instructional scaffolding is an ideal starting point for this research as its methodsparallel those used in design-based research. DBR connects teachers and subject matter expertsinto a design partnership responsible for documenting and steering the learning environmenttowards the most effective course. During the progression of each phase of the robotics learningsequence, the students are encouraged and supported to create clear goals for that particularphase. As the students’ progress through each phase they are given less guidance and instructionaccording to their level of understanding, an approach consistent with instructional scaffoldingtechniques. Three 7th grade classes are taught concurrently over the span of several months tofacilitate the iterative process fundamental to DBR methods. Sufficient time between each classallows the teacher-expert team to make adjustments to the learning environment and implementthese changes for the next class. Careful documentation of students’ learning styles and effectiveteaching methods is maintained through each iteration to track the progression of the DBR.Phase one of the robotics learning sequence consist of the construction of a robot chassis. In thisphase students are given instruction on frames, symmetry, load, and center of mass. They areguided through the construction of the robot chassis and the design process using build andrebuild exercises. In the second phase students create a drive mechanism for the robot. Lessonsin this phase include gear ratios and motors. Phase three incorporates transducers into the robotwhere the students learn about the different sensors and actuators. The fourth phase deals withrobot motion and includes lessons on translation and rotation. Lastly students learn to programtheir robots to accomplish different tasks. The breadth of knowledge covered in this sequence isimportant as it helps crosscut different aspects of all STEM fields within each phase. Byapplying several different math concepts while having fun and creating something tangible helpsalleviate math fears in students and shows real-world relevancy. The full paper will includedesign changes made at each iteration as well as recommendations for future work.
Moorhead, M., & Listman, J. B., & Kapila, V. (2015, June), A Robotics-focused Instructional Framework for Design-based Research in Middle School Classrooms Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23444
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