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Effect of Integrated Life Science Units on Middle School Students’ Engagement

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education in the Formal Classroom

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31908

Download Count

4

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Paper Authors

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Saira Anwar Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Saira Anwar is a third-year doctoral student at School of Engineering Education, Purdue University. She is interested in exploring the effects of using technology to enhance students' learning. Further, she is interested in understanding the ways and interventions that can be designed to deal with conceptually hard concepts in STEM courses especially programming and software engineering courses. Prior to Purdue University, Saira worked as Assistant Professor in Computer Science Department at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) at Pakistan for eight years and was recognized for outstanding teaching with the year 2013 teaching award. Saira was also the recipient of "President of Pakistan Merit and Talent Scholarship" for her undergraduate studies.

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Muhsin Menekse Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Muhsin Menekse is an assistant professor at Purdue University with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering Education and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Dr. Menekse’s primary research focus is on students' learning of complex tasks and concepts in STEM domains. Specifically, he investigates how classroom activities and learning environments affect engagement and learning in engineering and science domains. His second research focus in on exploring verbal interactions in small groups and student teams. And his third research focus is on metacognition and its implications for learning. Much of this research focuses on learning processes in classroom settings. Dr. Menekse is the recipient of the 2014 William Elgin Wickenden Award by the American Society for Engineering Education. His research has been generously funded by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Purdue Research Foundation (PRF), and National Science Foundation (NSF).

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Siddika Selcen Guzey Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Guzey is an assistant professor of science education at Purdue University. Her research and teaching focus on integrated STEM Education.

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Valarie L. Bogan Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Valarie Lee Bogan is a doctoral student at Purdue University. Ms. Bogan conducted research on student interest and achievement during a unit that integrated engineering and life science. She intends to continue this research by investigating the teacher talk which takes place during the unit.

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Shelbi C. Smeathers Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Shelbi is a graduate student and research assistant at Purdue University in Curriculum and Instruction. Her research and teaching interests focus on science and integrated STEM Education.

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Ji Yoon Jung Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ji Yoon Jung is a graduate student in Educational Psychology and Research Methodology at Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana. Her concentration is on educational measurement and statistics. Her main research topic is (1) comparing research methodologies and (2) testing measurement invariance.

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Utkuhan Genc Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Utkuhan Genc is a Junior at the school of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. He is an undergraduate research assistant at UPRISE program in Purdue Engineering Education Department under the supervision of Muhsin Menekse. He has an incredible passion for solving cross-cultural problems using data-driven analytical thinking and intercultural communication skills. He is also pursuing a Statistics minor to further expand his data analytics and visualization skills. Education and healthcare are the two main career focus interests for Utkuhan and he wishes to use data-driven optimization solutions to improve the lives of others.

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Abstract

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 [1], and 2) students’ engagement can be enhanced by providing opportunities to experience meaningful learning [2]. 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 [3], 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” [4] 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. https://peer.asee.org/31908

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