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Exploring How an Engineering-focused After-school Activity Can Increase Student Self-Confidence in STEM (RTP, Strand 5)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research to Practice: STRAND 5 Other Topics in K-12 Engineering Education.

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.727.1 - 26.727.19



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Paper Authors


Rosemary L Edzie University of Nebraska

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Rosemary L. Edzie is the Director of Development for the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska. Rosemary holds a doctorate from the College of Education and Human Sciences – Educational Administration Department the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Master of Education degree from Loyola University Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Rosemary’s research interests include the sociological aspects of race and class in higher education and STEM program enrollment trends.

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Brett Meyer University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering

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Brett is a former Network Engineer for Worldcom and high school teacher with a passion for teaching, learning and rural Nebraska, where he grew up knowing little about engineering. As an engineering outreach coordinator for the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Brett strives to stoke the innovative fire in young learners throughout urban and rural schools.

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Exploring How a STEM Focused Afterschool Project Can Increase Student Self-Confidence inEngineering – Work in Progress RTF, Strand 5)Brett Meyer, MSRosemary Edzie, PhDDeclining student interest in collegiate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) degree programs is a nationwide concern. The American College Testing (ACT)organization, reported that “over the past ten years, the percentage of ACT-tested students whosaid they were interested in majoring in engineering [STEM fields] has dropped steadily from7.6 percent to 4.9 percent” (2006, p. 1). Of particular concern are low numbers of females andethnic minorities entering the STEM workforce, an insufficient amount of females and ethnicminorities graduating from collegiate STEM degree programs results in workforce demands notbeing met as more than half of all bachelor’s degree graduates are female, and it will lack thediversity needed to develop innovative ideas. It is predicted that through increased middle schoolstudent exposure to pre-collegiate STEM activities in an afterschool setting, more female andethnic minorities will enroll and persist in collegiate STEM degree programs.A research project through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Durham School of ArchitecturalEngineering and Construction was undertaken to develop increased levels of self-efficacy in K-12 students as it relates to engineering. Through a hands-on learning activity, students in gradesK-12 applied appropriate grade level knowledge and skills in the design and build of a structureusing K’NEX. Students break into groups of four to five and are assigned project specific roles.The construction manager is tasked with project leadership related to scheduling, budget, blue-print details and conflict resolution. The architect is responsible for the overall look of thebuilding, while the architectural engineer focuses on structures uses proper building techniquesto construct the building --- lighting, acoustics, and mechanical systems. Each group isresponsible for the same building design and must follow a clearly defined rubric. At the end ofthe lesson, groups are judged by a panel of current engineering students using the rubric as thegrading sheet. Elements such as creative and lighting designs are subjective bonus points givenby the discretion of the judging panel. Participating students are assessed pre and postintervention by completion of the Motivated Student Learning Questionnaire and the LearningStyles Questionnaire; to determine if students demonstrate an increased level of self-confidenceas it relates to engineering. Lessons use current state standards as a means to tie the project tograde level content. This paper describes the program, lessons learned, and the assessment data.CitationAmerican College Testing (2006). Developing the STEM education pipeline. 1-8.

Edzie, R. L., & Meyer, B. (2015, June), Exploring How an Engineering-focused After-school Activity Can Increase Student Self-Confidence in STEM (RTP, Strand 5) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24064

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