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Student Communication of Engineering Design Solutions (Fundamental)

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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

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 15

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37741

Download Count

76

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Paper Authors

biography

Alexandria Muller University of California, Santa Barbara

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Alexandria is a third-year doctoral student working with Dr. Danielle Harlow in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 2017. She has worked with informal science institutions for the past 11 years, including The Chandler Museum, Tucson Children's Museum, and Biosphere 2. Currently, her research interests are facilitator, curriculum and exhibit development within informal science environments as well as Research- Practice Partnerships to benefit the local community. For more information about current projects and interests, please visit alexandriamuller.com.

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Liliana Garcia University of California, Santa Barbara

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Liliana is a doctoral student interested in STEM Education under the guidance of Julie Bianchini at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her B.S in Physics and obtained a single subject teaching credential through CalTeach at UC Irvine. Liliana previously worked with Upward Bound Trio Programs at Occidental College, preparing under-represented youth for successful pathways into college and work environments. Her experiences as a first-generation low-income student and as an educator in the Upward Bound program have shaped her research interests to include a culturally equitable curriculum in science for students in minority communities and science identity for under-represented groups.

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Ron Kevin Skinner MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8102-4682

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Ron Skinner, Research and Evaluation Specialist at MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

Ron Skinner has been involved with science education and research for the past 30 years. He has taught physics, astronomy, and general science in formal settings to audiences from kindergarteners to graduate students in the schools of the Lucia Mar School District, and at Cornell University, University of California, Irvine, and Santa Barbara City College. He has worked in informal STEM education at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation. As MOXI’s first Director of Education, Skinner created the philosophical vision for the department, mapped out a five-year strategic plan, and built up an education staff of five full-time employees, 20 part-time employees, and over 100 volunteers. He planned, budgeted, and implemented a full slate of informal and formal education programs; collaborating with teachers and school administrators, university departments, science and technology companies, community organizations, and donors.

At MOXI, Skinner’s current role in education research focuses on training informal STEM facilitators and engaging visitors in the practices of science and engineering. He is the principal investigator on two collaborative NSF grants and one sub-award with UC Santa Barbara, where he is also pursuing doctoral work in education research.

Skinner’s science research experience includes marine science fieldwork along the Northern California coast; plasma physics research at the University of California, Irvine; and nanotechnology research at Sandia National Laboratory. He gained practical engineering experience as a patent reviewer for Lenker Engineering and a software engineer for both Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Visual Solutions, Inc. For 14 years he owned and operated an organic farm, where he developed and directed a yearlong apprentice program in sustainable agriculture, ran informal education programs both on the farm and as outreach in local schools, and designed and fabricated small-scale farming equipment. He holds a B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University and an M.S. in Physics from the University of California, Irvine.

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Danielle Harlow University of California, Santa Barbara

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Danielle Harlow is a professor of STEM education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Abstract

Communication of ideas involves the simultaneous efforts of verbal, physical and neurological processes (Sherr, 2008). In elementary classrooms where young students are in the process of developing their verbal capacities, gestures from both the teacher and students serve as a key component of communication of new ideas and the processing of social information (Foglia & Wilson, 2013). Thus far, research efforts to understand how students utilize gestures in the communication and understanding of ideas have focused primarily on mathematics and the physical sciences (see Nemirovsky & Ferrara, 2009; Nuñez, Edwards & Matos, 1999; Shapiro, 2014; Sherr, 2008). With the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), students engineering is now included in K-12 instruction. Engineering education centers around designing and optimizing solutions to engineering challenges. The creation of a design solution differentiates engineering education from other classroom subject areas. Current work in engineering education focuses mostly on students’ words or drawings, leaving out gestures as an important component of students' communication of engineering designs. This study aimed to contribute to the general understanding of students’ use of gestures and manipulatives when discussing their engineering design solutions and is part of a larger NSF-funded project. Students participated in pre- and post-field trip classroom activities that extended learning done on an engineering-focused field trip to the local science center into the classroom. For this study, we focused on a module that challenged students to design a craft that either slowed the fall of a penny (classroom engineering design challenge) or hovered in a column of upward moving air (field trip engineering design challenge). We analyzed six videos (3 from the classroom and 3 from the field trip) of first-grade student explanations of their crafts to identify their use of gestures and prototyped craft design solutions in communicating. In this paper, we explore how student use of gestures and use of prototyped design solutions overlap and differentiate to understand how student sense-making can be understood through each.

Muller, A., & Garcia, L., & Skinner, R. K., & Harlow, D. (2021, July), Student Communication of Engineering Design Solutions (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37741

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