Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
As part of a National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership, semester- long 6th through 8th grade engineering courses engage students engineering design challenges intended to foster understanding of the engineering design process while reinforcing mathematics and science content. Sixth grade students explore data collection, experimental design, sketching, prototyping, statistical analysis, and communication as they complete a challenge involving the design and testing of a new carnival game. Seventh grade students complete a project with an aerospace engineering focus in which they re-design the interior cabin and airplane shape to make more fuel-efficient, comfortable, and profitable airplanes. Eighth grade students participate in a robotics challenge in which they use 3D modeling software to design, prototype, and test “feet” for a walking insect-bot. This study builds on previous work exploring students’ perspectives on the engineering course to explore the development of proficiency with the engineering design process and engineering self-efficacy among a sample students (N=6) who participated in two of the semester-long engineering courses over a two-year period. Using a case study approach, the study triangulates interview, assessment, and student artifact data to trace the development of students’ understanding and application of the engineering design process. Drawing on social cognitive theory the study also explores whether students’ descriptions of their course experiences indicate possible changes in engineering self-efficacy. The study addresses the following research questions: • To what extent and in what ways do students’ descriptions of the engineering design process change over multiple experiences with the engineering course? • What do students’ descriptions of their experiences in the engineering course reveal about changes in their engineering self-efficacy and the sources of their engineering self-efficacy? Semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to explore students experiences with the engineering design process and any related changes in engineering self-efficacy. Preliminary results suggest an increasing sophistication in students’ descriptions of the engineering design process over multiple years in engineering courses. To varying degrees, students’ also highlight mastery experiences within the engineering classroom that may serve as important sources of engineering self-efficacy.
Gale, J. D., & Alemdar, M., & Lingle, J., & Newton, S. H., & Moore, R. A., & Rosen, J. H. (2018, June), Developing Engineering Proficiency and Self-Efficacy Through a Middle School Engineering Course (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30306
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