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Board 122: Using Engineering Design to Increase Literacy and STEM Interest Among Third Graders (Work in Progress, Diversity)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Margaret Pinnell University of Dayton

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Dr. Margaret Pinnell is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Development in the school of engineering and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate materials related courses including Introduction to Materials, Materials Laboratory, Engineering Innovation, Biomaterials and Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (ETHOS). She was director of the (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning) for approximately ten years. She has incorporated service-learning projects into her classes and laboratories since she started teaching in 2000. Her research interests include community engaged learning and pedagogy, K-12 outreach, biomaterials and materials testing and analysis.

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M. Suzanne Franco Wright State University

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Professor of Statistics and Research, Program Director for EdD in Organizational Studies, in the Leadership Studies in Education and Organizations Department, College of Education and Human Services and the Program Evaluation Certificate.

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Mary-Kate Sableski University of Dayton

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Dr. Sableski is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in children's literature, literacy methods, and literacy intervention. Her research interests include diversity in children's literature, struggling readers, and professional development in literacy.

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Todd Bennett Smith University of Dayton

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Assoc. Prof. of Physics

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Literacy is the key to a student’s success as it is a critical skill required for learning all other subjects, including science and engineering. The Third Grade Reading guarantee encourages PK-3 teachers to focus solely on mathematics and reading. Because of this, students in these early grades are rarely exposed to science and engineering. This is very unfortunate since research shows that early exposure to science and engineering increases a student’s likelihood of pursuing these career fields. However, one of the most effective educational strategies is teaching literacy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in a highly integrative manner. Therefore, the objective of the Using Engineering Design to Increase Literacy and STEM Interest among Third Graders (STEM Stories) project is to provide an innovative, engaging, fun and highly integrated STEM and Literacy curriculum with detailed instructions for facilitation that can be used by schools to create afterschool reading intervention programs.

During the 2017-2018 school year, 13 innovative, fun and highly engaging STEM/Literacy activity modules were developed, piloted and assessed. The activity modules were developed using research based best practices for attracting underrepresented students to STEM, to show how STEM can make a difference and impact people’s lives and to incorporate culturally relevant literature and targeted literacy activities, The activity modules were facilitated at an urban school, directly impacting 18 students, two K-12 teachers, two undergraduate engineering students and an undergraduate teacher education student. Reading scores and post engineering interest data suggest that the activity modules were successful at meeting the goals of the project. The activity modules have been placed on a website for use by other teachers. A flier was created and distributed to area teachers to advertise this website. This academic year, the activity modules are being facilitated and assessed at three urban schools and at a place based urban afterschool enrichment program. This work in progress paper will describe the program, present the preliminary results and discuss future plans.

Pinnell, M., & Franco, M. S., & Sableski, M., & Smith, T. B. (2019, June), Board 122: Using Engineering Design to Increase Literacy and STEM Interest Among Third Graders (Work in Progress, Diversity) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32215

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