Salt Lake City, Utah
June 20, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 23, 2004
9.222.1 - 9.222.21
Assessing Engineering Teaching Kits for Middle School Students
Larry G. Richards, Jesseca Flaherty, Jennifer Cunningham University of Virginia/the Rochester Institute of Technology/Charlottesville High School
At the University of Virginia (UVA), we have been developing engineering teaching kits (ETKs) to introduce engineering design to middle school students. This paper describes our strategies for assessing these ETKs and evaluating our entire program. So far, we have three sources of assessment information: classroom observations, teachers’ reactions to these materials including their willingness to use ETKs, and formal assessments conducted during a teachers’ workshop held at the University of Virginia in August of 2003. This paper reports the results of these assessments, and their implications for our continued work in this area.
The Virginia Middle School Engineering Education Initiative (VMSEEI) has been developing ETKs to introduce middle school students to engineering concepts and techniques. Each ETK emphasizes the engineering design approach to problem solving. We identify topics from science, math, and technology that have interesting engineering applications, and then help students learn science and math in the context of engineering design. Each ETK includes real-world constraints: budget, cost, time, risk, reliability, safety, and customer needs and demands, and each involves a design challenge that requires creativity and teamwork. 1
This project involves faculty and students at the University of Virginia (from both the Curry School of Education and the School of Engineering and Applied Science), teachers and students in local middle schools, and administrators and parents. So far over 150 middle school students have used these materials. Thirty-seven fourth-year Mechanical Engineering students participated in this project last year as part of a new senior design sequence; this year thirty-five new undergraduate students are involved. Eight middle school teachers have used these ETKs in classes so far, and, in August 2003, seventeen middle school teachers came to a workshop at UVA to evaluate our products and project.
The First Three ETKs:
In our initial Senior Design class, six teams undertook projects aimed at developing ETKs. Three were ultimately successful; our criterion for success was that the lesson plans were actually used in a middle school classroom. Three other teams achieved acceptable lesson plans, but failed to develop a meaningful Design Challenge. The two defining attributes of engineering teaching kits are: (1) they realize the guided inquiry approach to teaching science and math, 6, 7, 8 and (2) they teach the engineering design approach to problem solving. 5, 9, 10
“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society of Engineering Education”
Richards, L. (2004, June), Assessing Engineering Teaching Kits For Middle School Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/14130
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