June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
This research to practice paper explores the effect of integrated life sciences units on middle school students' engagement. Prior research on middle school students’ engagement provides the evidence of two primary findings: 1) students’ engagement in STEM courses shows a decline over time , and 2) students’ engagement can be enhanced by providing opportunities to experience meaningful learning . Considering the role of engagement in STEM as a critical factor for developing students’ interests in STEM concepts and their selection of STEM related majors in college , we designed and implemented life sciences curriculum units (integrated with engineering design principles) for 6th-grade students. We used the modified engagement instrument, “The Math and Science Engagement Scales”  to measure students’ engagement in 6th-grade classes. We modified the instrument for science classes only. The instrument was executed in pre and post manner to evaluate the change in students’ engagement in a multidimensional construct that includes behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and social constructs. More specifically this study addressed two research questions: 1) what is the relationship between the observed measures of engagement items and their constructs? 2) How do students’ engagement change as a result of engaging in an engineering design-based life science curriculum unit? The data was collected from 287 students from two middle schools. We used confirmatory factor analysis to validate the instrument for science concepts and used multivariate repeated measures ANOVA to evaluate the changes in students’ engagement from pre to post-implementation. After two modifications in the initial model, the results show an adequate confirmatory model indicating the validated relationship between observed measures of engagement items and their constructs. The results of multivariate repeated measures ANOVA indicated that students’ behavioral, cognitive, and emotional engagement increased as a result of engaging in the integrated engineering design-based life science curriculum unit. The results also showed the nonsignificant mean difference in the social construct of engagement. The study discusses the results in light of previous literature evidence and provides future directions of research.
Anwar, S., & Menekse, M., & Guzey, S. S., & Bogan, V. L., & Smeathers , S. C., & Jung, J. Y., & Genc, U. (2019, June), Effect of Integrated Life Science Units on Middle School Students’ Engagement Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--31908
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