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Learning Through Engineering Design And Practice: Implementation And Impact Of A Middle School Engineering Education Program

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

24

Page Numbers

15.837.1 - 15.837.24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16972

Download Count

36

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Paper Authors

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Tirupalavanam Ganesh Arizona State University

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Tirupalavanam Ganesh, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Arizona State University. He has degrees and experience in engineering, computer science, and education. He has brought this experience to bear in previous research that examined the use of technologies in K-12 settings with diverse students. He has worked with the Children’s Museum of Houston on the development and implementation of Robotics-based STEM programming for urban youth. He is the Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation Award# 0737616, Learning through Engineering Design and Practice.

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John Thieken Arizona State University

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John Thieken, MEd., is currently a high school mathematics teacher at the Paradise Valley School District and a doctoral student in the PhD in mathematics education at Arizona State University. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University. He is currently involved in doctoral research (Learning through Engineering Design and Practice, National Science Foundation Award# 0737616) where he engages in research methods, measurement, data analysis (quantitative and qualitative), curriculum design, curriculum implementation, and sustainability.

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Dale Baker Arizona State University

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Dale Baker, Ed.D., is an international expert in equity issues in science education. She was honored in 2006-07 as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for this body of work. In 2008 she was elected fellow of the American Educational Research Association. She is a former editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

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Stephen Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause, Ph.D., is professor of Materials Science and Engineering. His research in engineering education has focused on misconceptions and he has expertise in the development of concept inventories to assess student learning.

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Monica Elser Arizona State University

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Monica Elser, M.S., M.Ed., is the education manager for ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS). She has expertise in ecology and sustainability education, and administering after-school science clubs. She developed and administers the award-winning Ecology Explorers program and Service at Salado project. At Arizona State University, she currently co-directs the NSF GK-12 program entitled Sustainable Science for Sustainable Schools.

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Wendy Taylor Arizona State University

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Wendy Taylor, Ph.D., is assistant director of the ASU Mars Space Flight Facility. She collaborated with the project team on curriculum development in the Learning through Engineering Design and Practice project.

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Chell Roberts Arizona State University

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Chell Roberts, Ph.D., is an expert Engineering educator and Department Chair of Engineering at the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus. He is the founder and developer of the Engineering Studio at the Polytechnic that is a model for hands-on engineering education at the high school and college levels.

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Jay Golden Ph.D., is a faculty member in ASU’s School of Sustainability and codirector of the

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Jay Golden, Ph.D., is a faculty member in ASU’s School of Sustainability and codirector of the National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations for Urban Climate and Energy. He works with the Global Institute of Sustainability education team to bring current engineering research on sustainability in the urban environment to this effort.

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James Middleton Arizona State University

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James Middleton, Ph.D., is Professor of Mathematics Education and Director, Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology. He is an expert in middle school mathematics curriculum development and research in student cognition.

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Sharon Robinson Kurpius

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Sharon Kurpius Robinson, Ph.D., is an expert in counseling youth and adults in educational and career pathways. She helped facilitate the participant and family workshops on STEM careers and educational pathways.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Learning through Engineering Design and Practice: Implementation and Impact of a Middle School Engineering- Education Program

Abstract

This paper describes research efforts and results of the first year of a two-year long technologically centered discovery-based extracurricular learning experience designed and delivered to over 100 seventh-grade students from four middle schools. Research methods used to study program impact included statistical analysis of pre- and post- tests, qualitative research techniques of eliciting information using subject-produced drawings, journal writing, focus groups, and observation. This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program aimed at enhancing traditionally underrepresented youths’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. Disciplinary experts were drawn from materials science, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, sustainability, science education, mathematics education, cognitive psychology, counseling, and education research methods. These experts worked with K-12 educators to design and deliver an extra-curricular middle school engineering education program.

The program utilized the engineering design process as the fundamental construct for engagement with the novel teaching and learning experiences. The program provided experiences where participants learned engineering and information technology skills through activities such as simulating desert tortoise behaviors, and researching and developing designs to mitigate the urban heat island. They also participated in leadership development activities over the summer serving as docents for younger children at the local science center, a research internship with the university, and an industry internship with a local energy and water service provider.

Student learning was assessed using formal and informal methods. Informal assessments consisted of whiteboard presentations, open-ended questioning, demonstrations, journal write- ups, and teacher observations. These were used to guide daily activities and lessons. Formal assessments consisted of pre and post assessments. Subject produced drawings were used to elicit students’ pre- and post-program knowledge. Draw a Robot and Draw an Engineer assessments were used. A survey instrument was developed and implemented to elicit tinkering and technical self-efficacy. An earlier developed instrument that was validated using a sample of responses of 200 engineers to develop the items was modified for use with youth. Observations of project activities by external evaluators, interviews with educators, school administrators, program facilitators, principal investigators, industry volunteers, collaborators, and student participants, were used to study whether project and research goals were met.

Pre and post assessments in the form of open-ended questions related to content in major units were administered. Assessments were analyzed to determine what impact the project had on student learning and student interests in related STEM content. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA was conducted on each unit to compare differences in the relationship between pre and

Ganesh, T., & Thieken, J., & Baker, D., & Krause, S., & Elser, M., & Taylor, W., & Roberts, C., & Golden, J., & Middleton, J., & Robinson Kurpius, S. (2010, June), Learning Through Engineering Design And Practice: Implementation And Impact Of A Middle School Engineering Education Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16972

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015