June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.593.1 - 26.593.13
Fourth grade students’ development of problem constraints and requirements in an ill-defined engineering problem (Fundamental) The inclusion of engineering design practices in the Next Generation ScienceStandards have raised the issue of what design practices children should be expected toengage in. While the standards have put forth ideas for the scaffolding of engineeringdesign practices, there is little support in the research literature for the kind ofengineering practices students are capable at different grade levels. In addition, as awhole, the literature lacks rich descriptions of children engaged in engineering designpractices – How do they tackle problems? What are areas they struggle with? This studybegins to address this through careful attention to students engaged in early stages of theengineering design process. This paper will present an interview study with 4th grade students. Fifteen fourthgrade students (8 boys, 7 girls) from an urban-rim school were individually presentedwith a prompt that a dog (Abby) that was having trouble getting around and neededsomething designed to help her. The problem was intentionally ill-defined and thestudents were invited to ask questions about Abby and to draw their idea for a design tohelp her. Students were made aware that this was a conceptual design task, resulting in adrawing, but that they should specify materials from their home or school that they woulduse to make their design. The interviewers had a fixed backstory (about a dachshund dogabout about 10 inches tall and 15 inches long, living in a 2 –story apartment with adamaged vertebrae resulting in the permanent paralysis of her back legs) to supportstudents’ questions. This paper will present 3 case studies of students’ approach todefining the constraints and requirements and their design. The cases studies illustratethe different pathways that students take when tackling this – ranging from from expert-like questioning to identify constraints before designing to sequential attention toconstraints while designing to complete designs that were modified with questions afterthe fact. The heterogeneity of approaches suggests that we have to carefully considerstudents initial approach to design, similar to the way we consider their existing ideas andconceptions and science. These results have implications for teacher professionaldevelopment and curriculum design.
Yang, L. A., & Johnson, A. W., & Portsmore, M. D. (2015, June), Eliciting Informed Designer Patterns from Elementary Students with Open-ended Problems (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23931
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