Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Pre-College Engineering Education
Engineering is an important component of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). However, resources for supporting teachers in implementing these standards are scarce. Our paper will address this need by presenting an application of an innovative pedagogy called Imaginative Education (IE) to create NGSS-aligned middle school engineering curricula. In IE, cognitive tools—such as developmentally appropriate narratives, mysteries and fantasies—are used to design learning environments that engage learners and help them organize their knowledge productively. To fully exploit the potential of this pedagogy, the curricula we have developed combines IE with transmedia storytelling—an approach in which different elements of a narrative are spread across a variety of media formats to be more immersive than traditional delivery channels. Using this approach, we have developed a 2-3 week sixth-grade engineering design unit and three shorter 2-3 day mini-units in which students apply ideas from the design unit to explore sixth-grade science topics. In the main unit, learners:
• Participate in a multi-media narrative in which they design bio-armor to save a character trapped in a dystopian gaming environment; • Work with real-life hero, Isaac Gonzales, to solve the mystery of 1919 Boston Molasses disaster; and • Use the engineering design process to design and build a cell phone holder.
In the mini-units, learners explore sixth-grade science topics through the perspective of engineering design. In these units, learners:
• Explore how engineering design is like and unlike biological evolution by participating in a narrative in which a girl from the future tries to understand the content of a present-day smartphone. • Participate in a narrative in which they design a rescue kit to save the Apollo 13 astronauts. In this adventure learners are guided through the unit by videos featuring real-life hero Francis (Poppy) Northcutt--the first female engineer to work in NASA’s mission control. • Designing buildings to protect people from earthquakes.
The development of this curricula is part of a research study that is currently being implemented in six middle schools throughout the Springfield, MA public school system. Participating classrooms are randomly divided into treatment and control groups totally approximately 500 students per year. All participants are assessed to provide evidence of whether this educational approach impacts student learning and the development of STEM identity. Based on Schwartz, Bransford, and Sears’s transfer framework, we assess learning by measuring (1) students’ ability to directly use applicative knowledge and skills to solve engineering problems and (2) students’ ability to use interpretive knowledge in a multi-stage problem-solving task. The impact on developing STEM identity is measured using self-efficacy and personal interest sub-scales from the S-STEM assessment instrument. Both student learning and STEM identity data is currently being collected and analyzed for inclusion in the final paper.
Ellis, G. W., & Pina, J., & Mazur, R., & Rudnitsky, A., & McGinnis-Cavanaugh, B., & Huff, I., & Ellis, S., & Ford, C. M., & Lytton, K., & Cormier, K. C. (2020, June), Developing Transmedia Engineering Curricula Using Cognitive Tools to Impact Learning and the Development of STEM Identity Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34438
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