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Encouraging Exploration, Creativity, and Joy through Compressed Engineering Immersion (Evaluation)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Middle School Students' Engineering Identity, Efficacy, Attitudes, and Perceptions

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Jenna Laleman University of St. Thomas

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Jenna is a senior at the University of St. Thomas, finishing up her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and STEM Education with a minor in Psychology. Jenna collaborates with the Center for Engineering Education to create outreach curriculum. She works in her university's Playful Learning Lab which focuses on engaging students of all ages in hands-on, innovative engineering education, especially focusing on reaching the underrepresented within the STEM fields. Jenna also leads the University's STEPS (Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer) Program, developing the curriculum, leading the staff, and working as the primary researcher.

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Annmarie Thomas University of St. Thomas

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AnnMarie Thomas is a professor in the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas where she is the director of the UST Center for Engineering Education. Her research group, the Playful Learning Lab, focuses on engineering and design education for learners of all ages.

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Deborah Besser P.E. University of St. Thomas

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Dr. Besser, PE, ENV SP, holds a PhD in education and MS and BS in civil engineering. Currently, she is chair of civil engineering and the director of the Center for Engineering Education. Previous experience includes faculty positions in diverse universities where she has taught a variety of coursework including steel, timber, concrete and masonry design, construction, engineering economy, engineering graphics and engineering education. Prior to teaching, Dr. Besser, a licensed engineer, was a design engineer with HNTB-CA, where she worked on seismic retrofits and new design of high profile transportation structures.

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Encouraging Efficacy, Learning, Growth and Fun Through a One-Day Dive Into Engineering for Middle School Girls (Evaluation)

_________ is a summer program at the University of ___________ which has been offered since 2000. The program mission is to provide middle school girls with an engineering experience which allows them to experience the hidden field of engineering. In the 2017 offering, 92 sixth-grade and eighth-grade girls attended one of five single-day programs. Participants engaged in hands-on design challenges, inquiry lessons and social activities in the university engineering labs and MakerSpace. Learning objectives included goals for hands-on learning, peer communication and collaboration and explicit connections to how engineering is a field in which people directly impact the lives of others, elements which have been identified as needed for the demographic (Goldnick and Chinn 2013; Hubelbank 2007).

Research questions for the program are 1. To what extent does a one-day program impact short term interest and knowledge of engineering and related STEAM careers? 2. How effective is this one-day, out-of-school engineering program at matching lessons to learning goals? And 3. What differences are evident in sixth and eighth grade students in terms of success, interest in activities and problem solving approaches?

Assessments included pre-program and post-program surveys in which students answered Likert-scale based questions and short answer questions about their attitudes, interests, and knowledge of STEAM careers. Analysis of qualitative short-answer questions correlated students’ interests and aspirations with program elements. Engaging in interviews allowed for another dimension of understanding and evaluation of program objectives. Evidence was found that students met learning objectives as they gained new content knowledge and skills in engineering. They also discovered that the program broadened students’ perceptions and definition of engineering. This paper discusses the program’s activities and provides an in-depth evaluation of data in order to understand the program’s impact in student learning and attitudes associated with STEAM careers.

References Gollnick, D.M., & Chinn, P.C. (2013). Multicultural education in a pluralistic society (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Hubelbank, J., et. al (2007). Long-term effects of a middle school engineering outreach program for girls: a controlled study, ASEE Annual Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 2007.

Laleman, J., & Thomas, A., & Besser, D. (2018, June), Encouraging Exploration, Creativity, and Joy through Compressed Engineering Immersion (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30372

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015