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Broadening Participation in Engineering: Making in the K-12 Classroom Following an Interest-Based Framework (RTP, Strand 4)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research to Practice: STRAND 4 – K-12 Engineering Resources: Best Practices in Curriculum Design (Part 1)

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.294.1 - 26.294.10



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Paper Authors


Avneet Hira Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Avneet is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research interests include K-12 education and first year engineering in the light of the engineering design process, and inclusion of digital fabrication labs into classrooms. Her current work at the FACE lab is on the use of classroom makerspaces for an interest-based framework of engineering design. She holds a B.E. in Aeronautical Engineering and is presently completing her M.S. in Aerospace Systems Engineering.

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Morgan M Hynes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Morgan Hynes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and Director of the FACE Lab research group at Purdue. In his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms. Specific research interests include design metacognition among learners of all ages; the knowledge base for teaching K-12 STEM through engineering; the relationships among the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, cognitive skills, and engineering skills of K-16 engineering learners; and teaching engineering.

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Broadening Participation in Engineering: Making in the K-12 Classroom Following an Interest- Based FrameworkThe concern over inclusion of underrepresented groups in the engineering community is notnew, and over the past few decades many attempts have been made in the form of programsto improve participation. The motivation for this study is rooted in this concern, as well as theideas around “starting young” which have recently come to the forefront by the NextGeneration Science Standards (NGSS) focusing on K-12 engineering education curriculum. Thispaper will make a case for implementing an interest-based framework for creatingengineering design challenges within Classroom Makerspaces as a means to improve theinclusion of women and underrepresented minorities in K-12 engineering and design learning.Two important aspects considered to make this case involve the effectiveness of using: (1) aninterest-based framework for engineering challenges to broaden participation in engineering;and (2) Classroom Makerspaces to implement this interest-based framework. The data anddiscussions presented will substantiate the case via theoretical evidence and qualitativefindings.The team of researchers associated with this work have qualitatively established with one oftheir prior studies how school-going participants of underrepresented minority groups expressan interest in making; governed either by situational or personal interests. Via anothertheoretical study by the same group of researchers, it has also been theoretically establishedhow Classroom Makerspaces can be used as means for adhering to many of the new K-12 NGSSstandards related to engineering design practices.To establish the effectiveness of the interest-based framework, a three- fold argumentation willbe presented. First, the difference in individual and group interests of students will be explored.Second, the role of interests in learning and motivation will be examined. Third, it will beestablished how the scope of engineering design and its learning is broad enough to be mappedto these various interests of students.To frame Classroom Makerspaces as a worthy means to implement the interest-basedframework, two pragmatic considerations will be explored. The first being the use of workbooklike handouts designed by the research team that aim to be broad enough to cater to thedifferent interests of students, but at the same time imbibe the different aspects of theEngineering Design process to be learned. The second being how making in a classroom spacewill not just serve as a means for the interest-based framework, but also accentuate the aspectsof achievement and motivation that are intrinsic to learning.Keywords: K-12 Engineering education, Engineering design, Underrepresented minorities,Interest-based framework, Classroom makerspaces

Hira, A., & Hynes, M. M. (2015, June), Broadening Participation in Engineering: Making in the K-12 Classroom Following an Interest-Based Framework (RTP, Strand 4) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23633

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