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Integrating Professional Mentorship with a 3D-Printing Curriculum to Help Rural Youth Forge STEM Career Connections

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37363

Download Count

31

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Paper Authors

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Srinjita Bhaduri University of Colorado Boulder

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Srinjita Bhaduri is a PhD candidate in Computer and Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research examines how educational technology can improve student engagement and student learning, often focusing on underserved populations.

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L. Lee Biddy University of Colorado Boulder

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Dr. Quentin Biddy is a Research Associate in the Institute of Cognitive Science. He is currently working with the iHUB and Schoolwide Labs projects researching and developing open source resources to support high school and middle school science teachers transitioning to Phenomena-Driven, Three-Dimensional Learning and assessment aligned to the NGSS. Through his work with the Schoolwide labs project, he is focusing on supporting middle school science teachers intentionally integrating Computational Thinking Practices into students’ learning experiences through co-designed CT integrated NGSS aligned storylines. His research/work experience and interests focus on effective science learning and teaching, Phenomena-Driven learning, NGSS aligned 3D Learning and formative assessment, CT integration, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, teacher professional learning, and the Nature of Science and History of Science in science education.

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Melissa Rummel University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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Educational Designer

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Jeffrey B. Bush University of Colorado

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Jennifer Jacobs University of Colorado Boulder

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Dr. Jennifer Jacobs is an associate research professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science at CU-Boulder. Dr. Jacobs has served as the PI or Co-PI on a variety of funded studies spanning mathematics and science education, with a particular focus on the development of curricular and professional learning resources for teachers and their impact on classroom instruction and student learning.

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Mimi Recker Utah State University

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John Daniel Ristvey Jr. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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John Ristvey, M.S., (UCAR, Principal Investigator), is development lead for Engineering Experiences in collaboration with Dr. Tammy Sumner, Srinjita Bhaduri, and Dr. Randy Russell. He provides expertise in Out of School Time (OST) programming with student supports and STEM education. Ristvey coordinates each of the teams and lead the design team as well as the work of the advisory board. He has conducted extensive research and development work in STEM OST projects such as Cosmic Chemistry (Institute for Educational Sciences, Department of Education) and NanoExperiences. Ristvey was the PI for three NSF-funded projects: NanoLeap, NanoTeach and NanoExperiences. He also was the lead developer for the Dynamic Design series of engineering modules for NASA’s Genesis mission. He holds a Master’s degree in Secondary Science Education from University of Houston, Clear Lake, TX.

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Alexandra Gendreau Chakarov University of Colorado Boulder

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Dr. Gendreau Chakarov received her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2020 where she examined how to integrate computational thinking into middle school science curriculum using programmable sensor technologies as part of the SchoolWide Labs project. She continues this work on the SchoolWide Labs Project as a research associate where she serves as the computer science and computational thinking specialist.

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Tamara Sumner Sumner University of Colorado Boulder

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I am a Professor at the University of Colorado, with a joint appointment between the Institute of Cognitive Science and the Department of Computer Science. I am currently serving as the Director of the Institute of Cognitive Science. I lead an interdisciplinary research and development lab that studies how computational tools – combining cognitive science, machine intelligence, and interactive media – can improve teaching practice, learning outcomes and learner engagement. My research and teaching interests include personalized learning, learning analytics, cyberlearning environments, educational digital libraries, scholarly communications, human-centered computing, and interdisciplinary research methods for studying cognition. I have written 140 articles on these topics, including over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications.

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Abstract

Economically disadvantaged youth residing in mountain tourist communities represent an important and understudied rural population. These communities typically include a large percentage of children that are English language learners. Our NSF STEM Career Connections project, A Model for Preparing Economically-Disadvantaged Rural Youth for the Future STEM Workplace, investigates strategies that help middle school youth in these communities to envision a broader range of workforce opportunities, especially in STEM and computing careers. This poster highlights the initial findings of an innovative model that involves working with local schools and community partners to support the integration of local career contexts, engineering phenomena, 3D printing technologies, career connections, and mentorship into formal educational experiences to motivate and prepare rural youth for future STEM careers.

We focus on select classrooms at two middle schools and describe the implementation of a novel 3D printing curriculum during the 2020-2021 school-year. Two STEM teachers implemented the five-week curriculum with approximately 300 students per quarter. To create a rich inquiry-driven learning environment, the curriculum uses an instructional design approach called storylining. This approach is intended to promote coherence, relevance, and meaning from the students’ perspectives by using students’ questions to drive investigations and lessons. Students worked towards answering the question: “How can we support animals with physical disabilities so they can perform daily activities independently?” Students engaged in the engineering design process by defining, developing, and optimizing solutions to develop and print prosthetic limbs for animals with disabilities using 3D modeling, a unique augmented reality application, and 3D printing. In order to embed connections to STEM careers and career pathways, some students received mentorship and guidance from local STEM professionals who work in related fields.

This poster will describe the curriculum and its implementation across two quarters at two middle schools in the US rural mountain west, as well as the impact on students’ interest in STEM and computing careers. During the first quarter students engaged in the 3D printing curriculum, but did not have access to the STEM career and career pathway connections mentorship piece. During the second quarter, the project established a partnership with a local STEM business -- a medical research institute that utilizes 3D printing and scanning for creating human surgical devices and procedures -- to provide mentorship to the students. Volunteers from this institute served as ongoing mentors for the students in each classroom during the second quarter. The STEM mentors guided students through the process of designing, testing, and optimizing their 3D models and 3D printed prosthetics, providing insights into how students’ learning directly applies to the medical industry.

Different forms of student data such as cognitive interviews and pre/post STEM interest and spatial thinking surveys were collected and analyzed to understand the benefits of the career connections mentorship component. Preliminary findings suggest the relationship between local STEM businesses and students is important to motivate youth from rural areas to see themselves being successful in STEM careers and helping them to realize the benefits of engaging with emerging engineering technologies.

Bhaduri, S., & Biddy, L. L., & Rummel, M., & Bush, J. B., & Jacobs, J., & Recker, M., & Ristvey, J. D., & Gendreau Chakarov, A., & Sumner, T. (2021, July), Integrating Professional Mentorship with a 3D-Printing Curriculum to Help Rural Youth Forge STEM Career Connections Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37363

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