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Board # 96 : Design-based Research and Soft Robotics to Broaden the STEM Pipeline (Work in Progress)

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27963

Download Count

106

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Paper Authors

biography

Andrew Jackson Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2882-3052

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Andrew Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute, with an emphasis on Engineering and Technology Teacher Education. His research interests are engineering self-efficacy, motivation, and decision making. Andrew is the recipient of a 2015 Ross Fellowship from Purdue University and has been recognized as a 21st Century Fellow by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. He completed his Master of Science in Technology Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University with a thesis investigating middle school engineering self-efficacy beliefs. He previously taught middle school and undergraduate technology courses, accompanying both experiences with classroom research to improve practice.

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biography

Jiawei Zhang Purdue University

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Jiawei Zhang is a Master’s student in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University focusing on robotics and design. Prior to joining the Faboratory at Purdue University, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University. He is a problem solver with strong hands-on skills and industrial experience. Currently, he is working on the characterization and fabrication of soft robotic grippers.

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Rebecca Kramer Purdue University

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Rebecca Kramer is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. She holds the degrees of B.S. from Johns Hopkins University, M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley, and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her lab, the Faboratory, contains a leading facility for the rapid design, fabrication, and analysis of materially soft and multifunctional systems. Her research expertise is in stretchable electronics, responsive material actuators, soft material manufacturing, and soft-bodied control. Dr. Kramer serves as an Associate Editor and Editorial Board member of Frontiers in Robotics and AI: Soft Robotics. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the NASA Early Career Faculty Award, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, the ONR Young Investigator Award, and was named to the 2015 Forbes 30 under 30 list.

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Nathan Mentzer Purdue University

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Nathan Mentzer is an assistant professor in the College of Technology with a joint appointment in the College of Education at Purdue University. Hired as a part of the strategic P12 STEM initiative, he prepares Engineering/Technology candidates for teacher licensure. Dr. Mentzer’s educational efforts in pedagogical content knowledge are guided by a research theme centered in student learning of engineering design thinking on the secondary level. Nathan was a former middle and high school technology educator in Montana prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. He was a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) Fellow at Utah State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. After graduation he completed a one year appointment with the Center as a postdoctoral researcher.

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Abstract

This work in progress report and poster describes the intent, methods, and progress of a 3-year NSF proposal to broaden participation in STEM through partnership with high-school teachers and curriculum providers. Traditional robotics typically falls between fields of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science; these areas have had a historically low percentage of degrees awarded for females—only 11.7%, 11.5%, and 11.2% respectively. On the other hand, the growing field of soft robotics tends towards disciplines including biomedical engineering, biological and agricultural engineering, chemical engineering, and materials engineering which have had proportionally higher female participation—39.1%, 31.9%, 33.1%, and 28.4%. By shifting the building blocks of robotics towards disciplines that females are more naturally drawn to, we hypothesize an increase in female interest in the technical aspects of soft robotics and a corresponding increase in their self-confidence and motivation related to engineering and design. We are currently in the middle of year 2 of our project and have begun implementing and evaluating our curriculum with teachers. Our project to implement soft robotics in the high-school curriculum has used design-based research methods to emphasize the iterative and product based nature of instructional design. Our first year of the project focused on developing curriculum and fabrication materials. Through several pilot attempts we have migrated the fabrication process from a laboratory setting to a classroom; each attempt provided new insights into the procedures and lesson planning so that the current state of the curriculum is improved. In cooperation with a high-school engineering curriculum provider we have provided professional development to 7 teachers who will be teaching the content with 9th grade classes this year; the soft robotics material will be taught in one section while a traditional robotics lesson is delivered in another section. Like our pilot teaching experiences, the professional development training was a hands-on practice which provided further iteration and refinement of the curriculum. As teachers deliver the content, we are collecting student academic pre- and post-test scores for the course; motivation, self-efficacy, and interest pre- and post-test scores for the lesson; student focus group responses; and teacher feedback to inform another round of curriculum iteration. This poster will add to a discussion on broadening female participation in STEM fields from an early age. It also presents integration of novel curriculum materials (soft robotics) and methods (design-based research). Findings from the coming year, which will be available at the time of the conference, will shed light on student STEM perceptions—motivation, self-efficacy, and interest—and how instructional design can be leveraged to affect those perceptions.

Jackson, A., & Zhang, J., & Kramer, R., & Mentzer, N. (2017, June), Board # 96 : Design-based Research and Soft Robotics to Broaden the STEM Pipeline (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27963

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