June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Curriculum and policy documents such as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have contributed to increased engineering content and practices in P-12 classrooms in the United States. Within NGSS, there are eight scientific and engineering practices to be promoted in P-12 STEM classrooms. One of these practices is engaging in argument from evidence. In science education, this practice is typically called scientific argumentation or simply argumentation, and it involves making claims about natural phenomena. Due to the differences in the goals and practices of science and engineering, an alternative model of engaging in argument from evidence is needed for engineering. We have previously proposed the practice of evidence-based reasoning (EBR) for this model, which involves justifying design ideas and decisions. Specifically, in this project, we are interested in answering the following research question: What initiates the need for middle school students to use evidence-based reasoning while they are generating a solution to an engineering design problem in a STEM integration unit?
We explored audio transcripts of one 7th grade student team while they were participating in a STEM integration unit. In the unit, Loon Nesting Platforms, the engineering problem is for students to design a floating platform on which loons can build nests. In this study, we focused on the portion of the unit when students were participating in the solution generation phase, which included six full class periods of audio transcripts. This means that the audio data included conversations about planning, implementing, testing, and evaluating an initial design and a redesign. In a first level of analysis, instances of EBR were identified in the audio transcripts; a revised version of Toulmin’s Argument Pattern was used to assist identification of EBR. In the second level of analysis, these instances of EBR were analyzed via open coding to determine the initiating prompt for the students to use EBR.
Preliminary results show a variety of needs that initiated students’ use of EBR. These categories include clarifying with team, responding to adult, negotiating with team, and sharing, among others. Example instances of EBR that fall into these categories will be shared in the paper. These results show that a variety of situations can instigate EBR during student discussions about engineering design ideas and solutions. The information gained in this study builds our foundational understanding of EBR in pre-college engineering contexts.
Siverling, E. A., & Suazo-Flores, E., & Mathis, C. A., & Moore, T. J., & Guzey, S. S., & Whipple, K. S. (2017, June), Middle School Students' Engineering Discussions: What Initiates Evidence-Based Reasoning? (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28668
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