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Assessing English As A Second Language Middle School Students' Ability To Learn Engineering Concepts

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Gender and Accessibility Issues in K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

12.265.1 - 12.265.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1641

Download Count

55

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Paper Authors

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Paul Klenk Duke University

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Paul A. Klenk, Ph.D., is a Visiting Scholar at Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, developing K-12 engineering education programs. He received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and
Materials Science from the Pratt school of Engineering at Duke University in 2006. He is the Duke Project Director for the TeachEngineeirng Digital Library Project at Duke, and was formerly the Graduate Student Coordinator for the Techtronics After-School Program at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, NC. In addition to his K-12 outreach work, he has researched
novel therapeutic radiation delivery methods for cancer treatment and utilized lock-in thermographic techniques for imaging photovoltaic cells.

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Frank Dreher Duke University

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Frank M. Dreher is a senior at Duke University, pursuing a dual B.S.E. in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering. He has previous tutoring experience at Watts Montessori Elementary School in Durham, NC, and is currently investigating the effectiveness of teaching basic engineering principles to middle school students. His research at Duke includes experimental diagnostic ultrasound development and atomic force microscopy development. He sings in a campus a cappella group, plays on the Duke Club Soccer team, and is a founding father of the Mu Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

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Emilie Condon Githens Middle School

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Emilie Condon, MA, MAT-ESOL is in her 7th year as an English as a Second Language public school teacher, currently at Sherwood Githens Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. Her classroom’s second language acquisition has had two foci: hands-on science curriculum and literacy—with an emphasis on photography and reading. The former has been a remarkable collaboration with Gary Ybarra, Ph. D. and Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, and the latter with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

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Gary Ybarra Duke University

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Gary A. Ybarra, Ph.D. is a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. He is the principal investigator of several K-12 engineering outreach programs as part of his Engineering K-PhD program at Duke. He received a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in 1992 and has been on the faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University since 1993. In addition to his K-12 outreach work, his research interests include microwave imaging and electrical impedance tomography.

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Lara Oliver Duke University

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Lara D. Oliver, B.S.E. is a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. She received the Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering from Brown University in 2002. She served as a Graduate Student Coordinator for the Techtronics II After-School Program at Rogers Herr Middle School in Durham, NC. In addition to her K-12 outreach work, her research focuses on subthreshold and gate oxide tunneling leakage reduction strategies for high-performance computing.

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Glenda Kelly Duke University

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Glenda Kelly, Ph.D., Research Associate for the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, serves as Program Manager and Evaluator for K-12 Engineering Outreach Initiatives. She has consulted to the Talent Identification at Duke University, was formerly Assistant Professor in the Medical School at the University of North Carolina, and received her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1982. She has coordinated and/or evaluates several Duke K-12 engineering outreach programs: Math Understanding through the Science of Life (MUSCLE), Math Understanding through Science Integrated with Curriculum (MUSIC), Techtronics Afterschool Program, and is currently co-investigator on a grant developing computer software to teach immunology to middle school students.

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Nancy Shaw Duke University

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Nancy Shaw is the director of the North Carolina Project Lead the Way, which is affiliated with Duke University. She is an electrical and computer engineer with 15 years of experience in telecommunications and computing. She received her BS degree in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in 1989. In addition to her work with PLTW, Ms. Shaw is the project coordinator of the Duke University segment of TeachEngineering.com, a National Science Digital Library.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessing English as a Second Language Middle School Students' Ability to Learn Engineering Concepts

Abstract

This paper presents evidence that English as a second language (ESL) middle school students can effectively learn engineering concepts through a sequence of one hour, hands-on activities. Electrical and mechanical engineering concepts are introduced through an integrated sequence of one hour modules. These cross-disciplinary modular activities include exploring mechanical potential through flowing water, building electric circuits, and using this knowledge to build a model electric car. These engineering-based activities provide a rich source for enhancing academic language skills through speaking and writing in English. Methods for training undergraduate and graduate Engineering Teaching Fellows to work effectively with ESL students are provided. The process of creating K-12 engineering-based lessons and activities for publication in the TeachEngineering Digital Library, part of the National Science Digital Library, is outlined using the engineering-based curricular unit created in this project. This project was completed by a senior undergraduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Degree.

Introduction and Background

This paper discusses how meaningful engineering content may be taught in an English as a second language (ESL) class by undergraduate or graduate Engineering Teaching Fellows. It discusses the skills necessary for an Engineering Teaching Fellow to be able to teach effectively in an ESL classroom and examines ways of preparing Engineering Teaching Fellows to work in ESL classrooms. The work of one of the Fellows in the Engineering K-PhD Program at Duke University is used as a case study for effective teaching of engineering content in the ESL classroom. The case study was performed at Sherwood Githens Middle School in Durham, NC. In-class time consisted of seven weekly, one-hour class blocks. The class was composed of eight ESL students including six Hispanic students and two Southeast Asian students, all of whom have been in the United States for less than two years and have a novice level of English proficiency. All were in sixth grade, and their abilities to use the English language were extremely limited. Their teacher described the students’ average English reading capability as below grade level, equivalent to lower elementary. From this case study, methods for training graduate and undergraduate Engineering Teaching Fellows to work with ESL students are presented, and suggested pedagogical methods are provided. Evidence for student learning among case study participants is provided. Finally, the process of publishing these lessons and activities in the TeachEngineering digital library is described.

Engineering provides a vehicle to teach middle school students that they can use science and mathematics as tools to creatively design and build solutions to problems. Numerous outreach programs placing graduate and undergraduate engineering students in K-12 classrooms as Engineering Teaching Fellows have demonstrated the ability to positively impact K-12 students through instruction in engineering1-6. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate

Klenk, P., & Dreher, F., & Condon, E., & Ybarra, G., & Oliver, L., & Kelly, G., & Shaw, N. (2007, June), Assessing English As A Second Language Middle School Students' Ability To Learn Engineering Concepts Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1641

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