June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Minorities in Engineering
23.601.1 - 23.601.13
FIRST© LEGO© League Participation: Perceptions of Minority Student Participants and their FLL CoachesThe purpose of this study is to examine benefits of minority student participation in FIRSTLEGO League (FLL©), an international competition in which students construct and programautonomous robots to complete specific challenges. Robotics teams and competitions have beensuggested as an avenue to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering, andmathematics (STEM), but research on their effects is sparse. Given that a number of researchstudies suggest student disengagement in STEM begins between ages 10 to 15 (Institution ofEngineering and Technology, 2008), a program such as FLL that targets this age group providesa valuable opportunity to investigate impact of participation on student perception and interest inSTEM.The purpose of this study is to describe (1) student and mentor perceptions of the benefits ofFLL, (2) changes in students’ perceptions about math and science, and (3) changes in students’interest in science or engineering careers. Study participants are 4th through 8th grade students(n =200) on 22 FLL teams in an urban area of the southeast United States. Their adult mentors (n=20) are also participants in the study. In the paper, we report results from student pre and post-surveys that measure student perceptions of math and science, as well as interest in science andengineering careers. Surveys contain open-ended questions about what students learned in FLL,how FLL has changed them (if at all), what they like best about FLL, and what they wouldchange about the competition. Mentors surveys include open-ended questions about the benefitsfor students who participate in FLL, ways students in FLL grow or change as a result of theirparticipation, specific aspects of FLL that lead to those changes, and barriers to participation thatmay exist for the minority students on their teams.Institution of Engineering and Technology (2008). Studying STEM: What are the barriers? A literature review of the choices students make. Herts, United Kingdom: Author.
Rosen, J. H., & Hendricks, C. C., & Robinson, N. F., & Sonnenberg-Klein, J. (2013, June), FIRST LEGO League Participation: Perceptions of Minority Student Participants and their FLL Coaches Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19615
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