June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.518.1 - 23.518.18
Engineering Solar Energy in the Fourth Grade Science Classroom The National Academy of Engineering has called for engineering education to bedeveloped for the K-12 classrooms in order to improve student achievement and motivation inscience and mathematics. Further, a framework for the Next Generation Science Standards is setto be released which will challenge K-12 schools to align the learning of content with scientificand engineering practice. Teachers will need to be supported in implementing curricula,pedagogy, and assessments for the teaching of integrated science and engineering around corecontent areas, including energy topics. This engineering solar energy research project aims toaddress this momentum towards integrated classroom learning of science and engineering bysupporting a fourth grade educator from a local Southwest elementary school with learningexperiences that will help develop capacity in implementing engineering design projects aroundsolar energy. This work is in the beginning stages of a design research methodology, in which alearning trajectory towards understanding solar energy through engineering design and thesupport curriculum will be documented, analyzed, and revised. In Spring 2012, a solar engineering design challenge was introduced in the fourth gradeclassroom. A researcher from the Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST)worked alongside the fourth grade educator to provide in-classroom professional development tointroduce the engineering design challenge to the students using modeling, whiteboarding, andthe engineering design process as instructional techniques. This learning experience took placeduring science classroom time for a period of two and a half weeks with 24 students. Reflectionswere collected from the researcher and teacher throughout the process in order to revise andextend the learning experience for the following school year. Revisions were made to emphasizethe iterative, systematic nature of the engineering design process and to enhance student learningof energy transfer. Further, the learning experience was expanded to include an electrical circuitscomponent. In September and October 2012, researchers from QESST are providing the same fourthgrade educator with five weeks of in-classroom professional development during scienceclassroom time to introduce the revised and extended solar engineering design challenge. Theeducator and 24 students will again experience for themselves engineering design projects, learnabout the engineering design process, and learn about energy concepts, specifically, electricity,electrical circuits, and renewable energy through hands-on experiences. Following the learningexperience, the fourth grade educator will serve as an academic coach and will work with otherfourth grade educators in the school to implement the lessons in their science classrooms. TheQESST researchers will also aid these participant educators in implementing the engineeringsolar energy learning experience. The research team anticipates that the learning experiences provided to participanteducators will result in enhanced educator self-efficacy in teaching science, classroom structuresfor student learning that value hands-on exploration of science concepts, and enhancedknowledge of energy-related content. Pre- and post- content knowledge assessments andinterviews targeting self-efficacy/classroom goal structures will be used with participant teachersand their students to measure program outcomes.
Foster, C. H., & Husman, J., & Mendoza, C. (2013, June), Engineering Solar Energy in the Fourth Grade Science Classroom Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19532
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