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Parents and Roles in Informal Making Education: Informing and Implications for Making in Museums

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Home, Parents, and Other Out-of-School Issues Related to K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Matthew Dickens Arizona State University

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Senior Robotics Electrical Engineering Student at Arizona State Universities' Honors College interested in engineering education, and the entertainment and edutainment industries.

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Shawn S. Jordan Arizona State University Orcid 16x16

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SHAWN JORDAN, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches context-centered electrical engineering and embedded systems design courses, and studies the use of context in both K-12 and undergraduate engineering design education. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Education (2010) and M.S./B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University. Dr. Jordan is PI on several NSF-funded projects related to design, including an NSF Early CAREER Award entitled “CAREER: Engineering Design Across Navajo Culture, Community, and Society” and “Might Young Makers be the Engineers of the Future?” He has also been part of the teaching team for NSF’s Innovation Corps for Learning, and was named one of ASEE PRISM’s “20 Faculty Under 40” in 2014.

Dr. Jordan also founded and led teams to two collegiate National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest championships, and has co-developed the STEAM Labs™ program to engage middle and high school students in learning science, technology, engineering, arts, and math concepts through designing and building chain reaction machines. He has appeared on many TV shows (including Modern Marvels on The History Channel and Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC) and a movie with his Rube Goldberg machines, and worked as a behind-the scenes engineer for season 3 of the PBS engineering design reality TV show, Design Squad. He also held the Guinness World Record for the largest number of steps – 125 – in a working Rube Goldberg machine.

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Micah Lande Arizona State University

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Micah Lande, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering programs at The Polytechnic School in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

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Making is becoming a popular activity for young people to get interested in STEM topics. Maker Faire events and extracurricular making clubs support this engagement. Informal science education, particularly through science and technology centers have been adopting making activities for floor programs and some have created maker spaces. This study explores how museums, and in particular children’s museums, incorporate making for young makers and families and how educational learning objectives match up with the attributes of making and values expressed by maker families. This will be addressed by both qualitative analysis of ongoing interviews with Young Makers and the parents of Young Makers. Emergent thematic analysis is be used to highlight themes relevant to Maker families working together. Additionally, this work will explore the goals and practices of informal science education museum community and establish a baseline and range of Making activities and makerspaces in childrens’ museums. Data has been collected over the last 3 years from the New York and Bay Area flagship Maker Faires with sets of interviews with approximately 32 Young Makers and the parents of Young Makers. The particular perspective of Maker families and the associated analysis has not been previously done and this study will allow for exploration of what it means to be a Maker family.

Dickens, M., & Jordan, S. S., & Lande, M. (2016, June), Parents and Roles in Informal Making Education: Informing and Implications for Making in Museums Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25854

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