New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
In this study, we examined the development of middle school students’ engineering design thinking in a toy design workshop. The introduction of engineering design modules in middle school has been shown to aid understanding of scientific concepts and design thinking. Additionally, using concrete objects to augment abstract concepts and symbols has also been shown to increase students' understanding and application of engineering design concepts. However, traditional classrooms continue to lack hands-on engineering design experiences that allow students to ground their thinking with concrete objects, leaving students unprepared to solve real-world design problems. Therefore, in this study, we structured a toy design workshop to develop middle school students’ engineering design thinking and improve their self-efficacy in engineering design. The workshop ran daily three-hour sessions for two weeks. In these, students worked in groups to design and build toy-like design products, such as marshmallow towers, trebuchets, and fan boats. We addressed the following research questions: (1) What is the influence of the toy design workshop on students' self-efficacy? (2) What is the influence of the toy design workshop on students' understanding of engineering design concepts? To address the first question, we distributed the engineering design self-efficacy survey before and after the two-week toy design workshop. Using a paired sample t-test, we found that students’ ratings on the post-survey was significantly higher than on the pre survey, indicating that the workshop improved the students’ self-efficacy in engineering design. To address the second research question on students’ understanding of engineering design and physics concepts, we developed video protocols and analyzed the video recordings of the design sessions. Using the protocols, we identified students’ development in conducting “plan-build-test” design cycles in different activities throughout the workshop. This research demonstrates research tools such as self-efficacy surveys for probing middle school students’ change in efficacy beliefs in engineering design, as well as observation analysis protocols for identifying how middle school students developed in conducting iterative design cycles. Findings from this research provides insights into the processes involved in middle school students’ engineering design learning and the benefits of engaging middle school students in hands-on toy design workshops.
Zhou, N., & George, T. T., & Booth, J. W., & Alperovich, J., & Chandrasegaran, S., & Pereira, N. L., & Tew, J. D., & Kulkaerni, D. N., & Ramani, K. (2016, June), Developing Middle School Students' Engineering Design Concepts through Toy Design Workshop (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27291
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