June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Educational Research and Methods
15.1080.1 - 15.1080.12
Model-Eliciting Activities – Instructor Perspectives Abstract
As part of a larger NSF-funded project to develop Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) in engineering courses (MEDIA), the authors of this paper have piloted selected MEAs in their courses. This paper will describe their experiences within the context of available student learning data. An MEA is designed to present student teams with a realistic, thought provoking scenario that requires the development of a generalized mathematical model. A well-designed MEA is built around a main concept that the instructor wants students either to discover and/or better understand. Data from these experiments can be used to determine the value added for students completing MEAs compared with other types of problem-solving activities including problem-based learning exercises. Using an MEA also causes documented, positive change in the faculty members themselves.
Introduction and Background
Recently many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education fields have actively tried to develop and implement Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) with their powerful functions in the educational and methodological aspects. MEAs were initially created in the mid-1970s by mathematics educators as research tools to explore students’ conceptual development and problem solving strategies (Lesh, Hoover, Hole, Kelly, & Post, 2000; Lesh & Lamon, 1992). Based on this inherent function of MEAs as a cognitive detector, research has found the potential for them to also be powerful educational tools; instructional tools for effective learning (Lesh & Zawojewski, 2007; Zawojewski & Lesh, 2003) and authentic assessment tools (Chamberlin & Moon, 2005; Lesh & Lamon, 1992).
An MEA is a problem-solving task related to real world situations requiring documentation of students’ thinking and procedures, not only a final product. In other words, it requires the “modeling” process itself as well as a “model” from students. The main characteristics of MEAs are: 1) Client-driven, open-ended, and realistic problems, 2) Designed based on multiple threads related to a realistic context, 3) Address higher-order thinking skills, 4) Products are models and modeling processes, and 5) Team work oriented (Lesh & Doerr, 2003; Lesh, Doerr, Carmona, & Hjalmarson, 2003; Lesh & Harel, 2003; Lesh & Zawojewski, 2007). Thus MEAs engage students in a real disciplinary community, where it is necessary to welcome multiple perspectives in teams, allowing them to develop collaboration skills (Moore & Diefes-Dux, 2004). Through eliciting and multi-cycle revision (express-test-revise) of models, students optimize their conceptual models and develop complex reasoning skills in the given contexts based on their experiences (Hamilton, Lesh, Lester, & Brilleslyper, 2008).
These characteristics of MEAs and their implementations are comparable to the main principles of engineering professional practice. The similarities between MEAs and engineering practice have made MEAs increasingly used in undergraduate engineering programs, and supported by several NSF grants to expand their implementation. Current engineering education research involves the following active areas of expanding the utility of MEAs: development of student reflection tools; implementation of learning technologies; detection and repair of
Miller, R., & Moore, T., & Self, B., & Kean, A., & Roehrig, G., & Patzer, J. (2010, June), Special Session: Model Eliciting Activities Instructor Perspectives Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16786
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