New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Engineering Physics & Physics and Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Incorporating engineering activities into physical science classrooms that directly show students the applications of learning about chemical bonds and structure, can be a wonderful way to stimulate interest in engineering career fields and motivate students to learn more about engineering disciplines. Investigating what these students take away from these lessons about how engineers apply those principles to addressing global problems can be a valuable resource in determining what type of content can be more effective in helping to motivate students towards these career paths. Additionally, investigating how students at different grade levels interpret the same type of curricula can inform what type of material is appropriate and how to better design curriculum meant to introduce students to the type of problems engineers face.
Utilizing the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges as a theme for creating curriculum, students within 8th and 10th grade physical science will learn about various topics such as polymers, carbon sequestration, solar energy, and biotechnology. Students will be presented with a topic when a similar topic is discussed in their physical science classroom. For example, when students are learning about chemical bonds, students will learn about the properties of polymers and hydrogels and then investigate how this information can be applied to addressing the NAE Grand challenge “Engineer better Medicines”. These topics will be presented in this way in an effort to help students understand how engineers apply scientific principles to address the many types of challenges they face. Following the introduction and conclusion of a particular topic, students will be given a survey to assess the impact the activities had on their knowledge of the subject, how useful they feel the information is and how this information will impact their personal life.
In this paper, the main goal will be to compare what physical science students in the 8th and 10th grade take away from lessons that incorporate engineering activities and evaluate how these activities impact student learning, both in an academic and personal setting. We will look at student responses to questions that ask how they think these topics impact their life personally and academically and then evaluate how effective the lessons were in changing those views. We will also look at which activities were more effective in increasing interest and knowledge in STEM subjects, motivating students to learn more about the topic presented, and how likely the students will discuss and talk about these topics with friends and family outside of school. By gauging student responses in these areas, we can get an idea about how learning about engineering and knowledge in engineering subjects affect students on a daily basis and how we can better incorporate these subjects into daily science instruction. Information obtained from this analysis will be used in developing curricula that can be used across many grade levels.
Nix, C. A., & Ruddick, J. A., & Ward, J. S., & Fontecchio, A. K. (2016, June), Comparing What 8th vs. 10th Grade Students Take Away from Engineering Curricula Incorporated into their Physical Science Classroom Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26527
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