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Board 117: Elementary Students’ Disciplinary Practices During Integrated Science and Engineering Units (Work in Progress)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Nicole Alexandra Batrouny Tufts University


Kristen B. Wendell Tufts University

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Kristen Wendell is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education at Tufts University. Her research efforts at at the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach focus on supporting discourse and design practices during K-12, teacher education, and college-level engineering learning experiences, and increasing access to engineering in the elementary school experience, especially in under-resourced schools. In 2016 she was a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

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Tejaswini S Dalvi Univerisity of Massachusetts, Boston

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As the STEM and STEAM movements converge with the incorporation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into state-level standards documents, there is deepened interest in contextualizing science learning experiences within engineering design problems. Research conducted even prior to the NGSS shows that design problems can be an effective context for the development of scientific knowledge and reasoning. However, questions remain about how to scaffold integrated science and engineering learning experiences so that they provide all students with opportunities to develop disciplinary practices in both science and engineering. To begin to answer these questions, we are conducting qualitative studies of integrated science and engineering curriculum enactments in elementary classrooms. Specifically, we are exploring how student participation in disciplinary practices is influenced by collaboration or documentation structures. For this work-in-progress paper, we conducted a pilot case study of two classrooms, each led by an experienced teacher participating in a professional development initiative on connecting science curricula to engineering and problems in the local community. We were guided by the following research question: In what specific aspects of working with data, constructing explanations and solutions, and arguing from evidence do elementary students participate during integrated science and engineering units supported by different collaboration and documentation structures? Data sources for this study include all the written artifacts produced in each classroom, photos of students’ design constructions, and field notes or video recordings of whole-class and small-group discourse. We developed a coding scheme consisting of 16 sub-practices for NGSS practices 4, 6, and 7, which involve analyzing and interpreting data, construction explanations and designing solutions, and engaging in argument from evidence. For a sample of students in each classroom, we coded student notebooks and spoken discourse line-by-line for evidence of student participation in each sub-practice. In both classrooms, there was strong evidence of at least one sub-practice from each larger practice: representing data in graphical displays and interpreting data within Practice 4, explaining observed relationships within Practice 6, and citing evidence when making a claim about a design solution within Practice 7. However, there was no evidence in either classroom of three sub-practices related to working with data and four sub-practices related to argumentation. The two classrooms differed in which sub-practices they better supported. This research has implications for the design of instructional scaffolds for integrated science and engineering curricula at the elementary school level.

Batrouny, N. A., & Wendell, K. B., & Dalvi, T. S. (2018, June), Board 117: Elementary Students’ Disciplinary Practices During Integrated Science and Engineering Units (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29889

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