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Funds of Knowledge in Hispanic Students’ Communities and Households that Enhance Engineering Design Thinking

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Diversity in K-12 and Pre-college Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

24.634.1 - 24.634.20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/20525

Download Count

64

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Paper Authors

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Joel Alejandro Mejia Utah State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3908-9930

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Joel Alejandro Mejia (Alex) is a PhD student in Engineering Education and Graduate Research Assistant at Utah State University. He received his B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso, and his M.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Utah. Prior to coming to Utah State University, Alex worked in industry as a Materials Engineer and Project Engineer. His current research focuses on how Latino adolescents use engineering design processes to solve community-based projects, and how their household bodies of knowledge and social practices with their peers may connect to these design processes. Alex is particularly interested in the use of comprehension strategy instruction in linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms, physical and digital manipulatives and their application in engineering courses, and education and outreach for minorities in STEM.

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Amy Wilson-Lopez Utah State University - College of Education

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Amy Alexandra Wilson is an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University. She studies disciplinary literacy instruction for adolescents in the fields of engineering and science.

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Christine E. Hailey Utah State University

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Christine Hailey is Dean of the College of Engineering at Utah State University and a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She has served as a senior associate dean in the college and was the director of the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education, a National Science Foundation-funded center for learning and teaching. She was a member of the ADVANCE-US team, another NSF-funded program to address issues that impact the effectiveness and satisfaction of female faculty in the engineering and science colleges at USU.

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Indhira Maria Hasbun Utah State University

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Indhira Maria Hasbun is a master's student in Environmental Engineering and Graduate Research Assistant at Utah State University. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Utah State University as well. She has obtained industry experience by participating in various internship. Throughout her academic career, she has had the opportunity to lead and organize outreach events focused on encouraging Hispanics and women to pursue STEM careers. This interaction with the community sparked a desire to be continuously involved and to partake on research projects focused on such area. Indhira is interested in continuing to work with Hispanic students and wishes to further her research and academic goals by pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education.

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Daniel L. Householder Utah State University

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Daniel L. Householder is a research professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University. His recent research focuses on the identification, selection, and implementation of engineering experiences for adolescent learners.

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Abstract

Funds of Knowledge in Hispanic Students’ Communities and Households that Enhance Engineering Design ThinkingReports consistently indicate that Hispanics remain profoundly underrepresented in the field ofengineering, including in undergraduate and graduate engineering programs. Unfortunately,many Hispanic students opt out of the engineering pipeline as early as middle school and highschool when they develop beliefs that “engineering is not for me” (Aschbacher, Li, & Roth,2010). Several scholars (Stevens et al., 2008) have offered sociocultural explanations for thisphenomenon, suggesting that “cultures of engineering” seem foreign to many Hispanic students’home cultures. In other words, many Hispanic adolescents may not see how engineering relatesto their personal interests, values, languages, household bodies of knowledge, and social orcultural practices. When K-12 engineering teachers draw from these resources—collectivelyknown as “funds of knowledge” (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzales, 1992)—then we hypothesizethat Hispanic adolescents’ interest engineering will increase. Accordingly, the purpose of thistwo-year ethnographic study was to document the funds of knowledge that 24 Hispanicadolescents (ages 14-17) used as they worked in groups of three or four to select a problem intheir communities and solve it through engineering design processes. We sought to identify howthe adolescents’ values, interests, workplace skills, language skills, experience with householdmaintenance, and other funds of knowledge were used in ways that enhanced their engineeringdesign activity. Toward this end, we collected three types of data sources in relation to theadolescents: (a) transcripts from audiorecordings of the adolescents’ group meetings, held onceevery two weeks over the course of eight months, as they selected a problem in the materialworld and developed a design to address that problem; (b) transcripts of individual interviewswith each adolescent, held once per month over the course of eight months; and (c) copies of theproducts they generated, such as copies of their engineering notebooks. The authors are usingconstant comparative analysis to identify how categories of funds of knowledge relate tocategories of engineering design thinking. Preliminary analysis suggests several categories offunds of knowledge that secondary engineering teachers can use as a platform for discussingengineering, including (a) helping parents manage the household or workplace budget, which canhelp students manage a budget for an engineering project; (b) considering the needs/wants ofclients in the workplace, which can help students scope out the needs of clients for whom thedesign will be built; (c) considering the large-scale, systemic effects of individual changes withina video game, which can help students engage in systems thinking in the context of engineeringdesign; and more. Our findings suggest that Hispanic students bring rich funds of knowledge thatcan be used to enhance engineering design thinking and activity. . By identifying these categoriesof funds of knowledge, we hope to move toward the creation of culturally responsive secondaryhigh school engineering instruction that actively seeks to connect Hispanic students’ out-of-school practices to the formal practices of engineering.

Mejia, J. A., & Wilson-Lopez, A., & Hailey, C. E., & Hasbun, I. M., & Householder, D. L. (2014, June), Funds of Knowledge in Hispanic Students’ Communities and Households that Enhance Engineering Design Thinking Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20525

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: © 2014 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