June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.671.1 - 15.671.7
Impacts of Engineering in 4-H After-School Programs
TechXcite is an informal, project-based engineering program for middle school students being implemented initially in after-school settings. The program is a partnership between the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences at North Carolina State University and the National 4-H Council. The TechXcite: Discover Engineering curriculum is centered on seven themes (Wireless Communication, Biomedical Technology, Digital Imaging, Alternative Energy, Transportation, Architecture, and GIS/GPS). Within each theme are modules containing 4-6 activities designed to engage kids in the engineering design and scientific thinking process in an informal setting. Each module is intended to introduce a modern and exciting technology that children encounter in their everyday lives while encouraging meaningful exploration and use of math and science as problem solving tools. After-school staff, most of whom do not have any formal engineering education, teach the program. Prior to teaching a module, after-school staff participate in a one- day workshop held at a 4-H Extension Center. This paper examines the impacts of the program on student learning through focus group data collected during the first two years of the project in North Carolina. Focus groups, conducted by Compass Consulting, who is responsible for the external evaluation of the project, have provided means of getting more detailed information than survey data has provided so far. Focus group data provide a more thorough investigation of student attitudes towards science, engineering, and technology than surveys because they provide a a method for determining the reasons for student responses. The goals of these focus groups are to answer the questions: 1) do students know what engineers do? 2) have there been changes in student attitudes towards science, math, and engineering? 3) are students more or less interested in pursuing a career in science, engineering, and technology? 4) do students in rural and urban counties have different preferences in engineering activities? 5) do girls/boys have different preferences in engineering activities? Three focus groups were completed during the fall of 2009 based on the Bioimaging and Your TV Remote modules, and data from those groups is presented. TechXcite is an Informal Science Education program funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant 0638970).
TechXcite is a partnership between the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences at North Carolina State University and the National 4-H Council. The TechXcite curriculum began with engineering modules developed for the Techtronics After-school program funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Techtronics is an after-school engineering program taught by students from the Pratt School of Engineering at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, NC, using the model developed by the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 Program1-4. The TechXcite partnership has provided an opportunity to widely increase the dissemination of the after-school engineering curriculum developed initially for Techtronics and also to expand the breadth of the curriculum through the development of new modules.
Klenk, P., & Ybarra, G., & D'Agostino, A., & Maxa, E., & Guerdat, K. (2010, June), Impacts Of Engineering In 4 H After School Programs Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16099
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