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Engineering Children's Literature:

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



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Page Numbers

22.578.1 - 22.578.3



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Brianna L Dorie Purdue University

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Brianna Dorie is a Ph.D student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. She previously received her M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Arizona, and her B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Portland. For the past three years, Brianna has coordinated the K-5 outreach program through the Women in Engineering Program (WIEP) at Purdue.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Monica E. Cardella is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education and is the Co-Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Dr. Cardella earned a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington she worked with the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments). She was a CASEE Postdoctoral Engineering Education Researcher at the Center for Design Research at Stanford before beginning her appointment at Purdue. Her research interests include: learning in informal and out-of-school time settings, pre-college engineering education, design thinking, mathematical thinking, and assessment research. She is also conducting a "longitudinal research study" with her two young children who love to read books.

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Engineering Children's Literature: Development of an engineering storybook for young children While the notions of doctor, teacher and firefighter are ubiquitous in young literature,there is a lack of engagement about engineering (Holbrook et al., 2008). Picture books are acompelling medium for introducing concepts to children at a young age. Story books have theability to present new information, increase stimulation of the imagination, and deliver messagesboth moral and social. In a school setting, story books have been shown to impactkindergartener’s mathematical achievement when produced in tandem with a mathematics unit(Keat & Wilburne, 2009). However, there have been little to no studies regarding the impact ofengineering literature (Holbrook et al., 2008). This could potentially be affected by the lack ofchildren’s books on the subject. Distributing correct messages about engineering to a younger age group may assist indeveloping a stronger perception of engineering further down the line (NAE, 2002). A marketinganalysis of engineering showed that targeted audiences weren’t familiar with engineering (NAE,2008). They piloted several different taglines to market engineering, such as “engineers shapeour world” and “engineers breathe life into ideas and make them reality”. However, some of thetaglines were found to be more relatable to targeted audiences, such as women andunderrepresented minorities, than others. Appropriate informal messages for young childreninclude: what engineering is, what an engineer does (in terms of occupation), many types ofengineering exist, engineering is all around, and anyone can be an engineer with the propertraining (diversity). This poster will illuminate the process of writing a children’s book on engineering. Byincreasing the number of available children’s books on engineering, with age appropriate andapproved messages, it may increase the early positive exposure of engineers and/or engineeringto young children.ReferencesHolbrook, A., Panozza, L., and E. Prieto (2008). Engineering in Children’s Fiction – Not a Good Story? International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 7: 723-740.Keat J.B., and J.M. Wilburne. The impact of storybooks on kindergarten children’s mathematical achievement and approaches to learning. US-Chine Education Review 6(7): 61-67.NAE (National Academy of Engineering), (2002). Raising public awareness of engineering.. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.NAE (National Academy of Engineering), (2008). Changing the conversation: Messages for improving public understanding of engineering. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Dorie, B. L., & Cardella, M. E. (2011, June), Engineering Children's Literature: Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17859

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