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High School Student Engineering Design Thinking and Performance

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

High School Students Thinking and Performance

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.691.1 - 25.691.20



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Paper Authors


Kurt Henry Becker Utah State University

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Kurt Becker, Ph.D., is a professor and the Department Head of Engineering and Technology Education. He is the Co-principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE). His areas of research include adult learning cognition, engineering education professional development, and technical training. He has extensive international experience working on technical training projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Labor, USAID. Countries where he has worked include Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. He has numerous publications in engineering and technology education.

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Nathan Mentzer Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Nathan Mentzer is an Assistant Professor in the College of Technology with a joint appointment in the College of Education at Purdue University. Mentzer was a former middle and high school technology educator in Montana prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. He was a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) Fellow at Utah State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. After graduation, he completed a one year appointment with the center as a postdoctoral researcher.

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Kyungsuk Park Utah State University

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Kyungsuk Park is a researcher in College of Education at Kyungpook National University in S. Korea. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in technology education from the Ohio State University.

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Shaobo Huang Utah State University - Engineering Education

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High School Student Engineering Design Thinking and PerformanceOur vision is to improve the STEM learning and teaching environment for high school studentsthrough their understanding of engineering design. Engineering employs principles ofmathematics and science to create technologies, thus serving as a STEM integrator. Design isrecognized as the critical element of engineering thinking which differentiates engineering fromother problem solving approaches. The purpose of this exploratory research is to clarifyengineering design as a construct and perform empirical preparatory research on engineeringdesign as a STEM learning experience for high school students. Engineering design has thepotential to integrate science, technology and mathematics concepts for students and is essentialfor developing technological literacy (Katehi, Pearson, & Feder, 2009). This three year projecttests the reasonableness of comparing high school student engineering design thinking with thatof experts, and investigates the feasibility of these research methods by addressing the followingquestion: How does high school student engineering design thinking compare to that ofexperts in terms of engineering design performance and knowledge?Seventy-five participants from four states were asked to think out loud in a three hour designchallenge which was video and audio recorded. Verbal protocol analysis was conducted as thestudents engaged in the engineering design process. The area of focus for this paper is timeallocations across essential elements of the design process. This research may help to uncoverthe elusive cognitive thought processes employed by students as they practice engineering designthinking and will inform curriculum developers and teachers planning classroom strategies toimprove high school students’ understanding of engineering. Results of the NSF funded studywill be presented at the 2012 ASEE conference.

Becker, K. H., & Mentzer, N., & Park, K., & Huang, S. (2012, June), High School Student Engineering Design Thinking and Performance Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21448

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