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Inspiring Young Children to Engage in Computational Thinking In and Out of School (Research to Practice)

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Computational Thinking in Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32970

Download Count

56

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Paper Authors

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Morgan M. Hynes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Morgan Hynes is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and Director of the FACE Lab research group at Purdue. In his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms. Specific research interests include design metacognition among learners of all ages; the knowledge base for teaching K-12 STEM through engineering; the relationships among the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, cognitive skills, and engineering skills of K-16 engineering learners; and teaching engineering.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-4229-6183

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Monica E. Cardella is the Director of the INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering and is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University.

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Tamara J. Moore Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7956-4479

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Tamara J. Moore, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Engineering Education and Director of STEM Integration in the INSPIRE Institute at Purdue University. Dr. Moore’s research is centered on the use of engineering design-based STEM integration in K-12 and postsecondary classrooms in order to help students make connections among the STEM disciplines and achieve deep understanding. Her work focuses on defining STEM integration, including computational thinking, and investigating its power for student learning.

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Sean P. Brophy Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Sean Brophy is the director of Student Learning for the INSPIRE Pre-college Research Institute at Purdue University. His research in engineering education and learning sciences involves developing young children's cognitive ability to think and reason during complex problem solving activities. As part of this research he explores new methods to enhance informal and formal learning experiences using technology.

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Senay Purzer Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0784-6079

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Ṣenay Purzer is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education. She is the recipient of a 2012 NSF CAREER award, which examines how engineering students approach innovation. She serves on the editorial boards of Science Education and the Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education (JPEER). She received a B.S.E with distinction in Engineering in 2009 and a B.S. degree in Physics Education in 1999. Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are in Science Education from Arizona State University earned in 2002 and 2008, respectively.

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Kristina Maruyama Tank Iowa State University

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Kristina M. Tank is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the School of Education at Iowa State University. She currently teaches undergraduate courses in science education for elementary education majors. As a former elementary teacher, her research and teaching interests are centered around improving elementary students’ science and engineering learning and increasing teachers’ use of effective STEM instruction in the elementary grades. With the increased emphasis on improved teaching and learning of STEM disciplines in K-12 classrooms, Tank examines how to better support and prepare pre-service and in-service teachers to meet the challenge of integrating STEM disciplines in a manner that supports teaching and learning across multiple disciplines. More recently, her research has focused on using literacy to support scientific inquiry, engineering design, and STEM integration.

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Muhsin Menekse Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Muhsin Menekse is an assistant professor at Purdue University with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering Education and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Dr. Menekse’s primary research focus is on students' learning of complex tasks and concepts in STEM domains. Specifically, he investigates how classroom activities and learning environments affect engagement and learning in engineering and science domains. His second research focus in on exploring verbal interactions in small groups and student teams. And his third research focus is on metacognition and its implications for learning. Much of this research focuses on learning processes in classroom settings. Dr. Menekse is the recipient of the 2014 William Elgin Wickenden Award by the American Society for Engineering Education. His research has been generously funded by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Purdue Research Foundation (PRF), and National Science Foundation (NSF).

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Ibrahim H. Yeter Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ibrahim H. Yeter is a Postdoctoral Researcher in his second year in the INSPIRE-Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He completed his PhD degree majoring in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Engineering Education and minoring in Educational Psychology as well as an MS degree in Petroleum Engineering at Texas Tech University. He also obtained an MEd degree from Clemson University. His research interests focus on teacher education and students learning issues within Engineering Education/Pedagogy and Computational Thinking/Pedagogy field of studies. He received national and international recognitions including an Early Career Researcher award from European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) and a Jhumki Basu Scholar award from National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST). In addition, he is one of two scholarship recipients awarded by NARST to attend the ESERA summer research program in České Budějovice, Czech Republic in 2016. He can be reached at iyeter@purdue.edu.

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Hoda Ehsan Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3681-317X

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Hoda is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education, Purdue. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering in Iran, and obtained her M.S. in Childhood Education and New York teaching certification from City College of New York (CUNY-CCNY). She is now a graduate research assistant on STEM+C project. Her research interests include designing informal setting for engineering learning, and promoting engineering thinking in differently abled students in informal and formal settings.

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Abstract

Integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects in pre-college settings is seen as critical in providing opportunities for children to develop knowledge, skills, and interests in these subjects and the associated critical thinking skills. More recently computational thinking (CT) has been called out as an equally important topic to emphasize among pre-college students. The authors of this paper began an integrated STEM+CT project three years ago to explore integrating these subjects through a science center exhibit and a curriculum for 5-8 year old students. We reported on the development of this project and an analysis of how the existing curriculum highlighted CT knowledge and skills, and how we expected the curriculum to engage students in CT in an ASEE conference paper in 2016. This paper reports on the evolution of the project, development of the science center exhibit, and revision of the curriculum. Part of this evolution included the refining of a set of CT competencies and what it would look like for this young age group. In this paper, we discuss this evolution as well as how we have operationalized the CT competencies with data from science center and classroom testing.

At the outset of this project, there were few resources that specifically considered teaching CT with 5-8 year old children and fewer clear examples of what it looked like for children to engage in CT. However, there were many, sometimes competing, definitions and approaches to CT more generally. After further review of the literature and some laboratory and classroom testing with children, the team refined definitions for the following CT competencies: abstraction; algorithms and procedures; automation; data collection; data analysis; data representation; debugging/troubleshooting; problem decomposition; parallelization; simulation; and pattern recognition. Analysis of hundreds of students and tens of teachers implementing the curriculum allowed us to develop concrete examples of how students engaged in CT competencies as well as how kindergarten through second grade teachers fostered CT competency development. We report on these examples and how they informed the development of the integrated STEM+CT science center exhibit and curriculum.

Hynes, M. M., & Cardella, M. E., & Moore, T. J., & Brophy, S. P., & Purzer, S., & Tank, K. M., & Menekse, M., & Yeter, I. H., & Ehsan, H. (2019, June), Inspiring Young Children to Engage in Computational Thinking In and Out of School (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32970

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