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Incorporating Engineering in Middle School Science

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Curriculum Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.731.1 - 23.731.19



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Paper Authors


Gabriella J Ducamp University of Virginia

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Gabriella J. Ducamp is a former elementary school teacher and current STEM Education PhD student at the University of Virginia.

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Crystal Jean DeJaegher University of Virginia

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Incorporating Engineering In Middle School Science: A Pilot Study Teaching About Electricity The overarching goal of this study is to introduce engineering and mathematics conceptsto middle school students through digital fabrication, and increase science and mathematicscompetency while stimulating interest in STEM careers. This pilot study incorporated digitalfabrication, engineering design, and visualizations into a comprehensive unit that integrateshardware, software, a curriculum, and a collaborative space. The engaging nature of theseactivities may improve student attitudes toward STEM disciplines and increase the likelihoodthat students will take advanced STEM coursework and choose STEM careers, as they feel thesuccess of completing design challenges and working in content areas that might otherwise beoverwhelming. Fabrication activities are a vehicle that may help deliver science content aboutelectricity in a group setting that is approachable for students who may be less likely to pursueSTEM activities. Three eighth-grade classes (totaling approximately sixty students) participatedin hands-on science lessons that incorporate technology to deepen their understanding aboutelectricity through modeling, simulations, and measurement probes. The researcher triangulateddata, including student interviews, analysis of student work samples, pre-/post tests, and theSTEM Semantics Survey. Data may help provide practical ways to enhance interest and skillsnecessary to encourage participation in STEM activities, courses, and careers. In order to meet growing demands for a competitive Science, Technology, Engineering,and Math (STEM) workforce, education must adapt to reflect the skills necessary to besuccessful in these fields, and students must be encouraged to maintain interest in thesedisciplines. Digital fabrication may offer the opportunity to bring authentic STEM activities tostudents more than traditional classroom instruction. The next generation of 2D and 3D personaldigital fabricators makes digital fabrication in schools feasible for the first time (Bull & Groves,2009). This can facilitate the introduction of engineering design in STEM subject areas throughrapid prototyping. In the same way that word processors can be used to improve students‘writing skills, educational CAD tools can help students improve their design skills by allowingthem to visualize their designs. Ease of revision can encourage an iterative process that is animportant part of engineering design.  

Ducamp, G. J., & DeJaegher, C. J. (2013, June), Incorporating Engineering in Middle School Science Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19745

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