Asee peer logo

Students' Perceptions of a Middle School STEM Innovation and Design Course

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-College: Perceptions and Attitudes on the Pathway to Engineering (3)

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28870

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28870

Download Count

311

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Meltem Alemdar Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Meltem Alemdar is Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist at Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Her research focuses on improving K-12 STEM education through research on curriculum development, teacher professional development, and student learning in integrated STEM environments. Her interests also include evaluation of K-12 STEM initiatives that target low income and minority students. Dr. Alemdar has experience evaluating programs that fall under the umbrella of educational evaluation, including K-12 educational curricula, K-12 STEM programs after-school programs, and comprehensive school reform initiatives. She received her Ph.D. in Research, Measurement and Statistics from the Department of Education Policy at Georgia State University (GSU).

visit author page

biography

Jessica D. Gale Georgia Institute of Technology, Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7361-3612

visit author page

Dr. Jessica Gale is a Research Scientist II at Georgia Tech's Center for education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Her research focuses on project-based learning, STEM integration at the elementary and middle grades levels, design-based implementation research, and fidelity of implementation. Dr. Gale has a particular interest in project-based engineering in elementary school communities and the socio-cultural dimensions of pre-college engineering education. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Emory University.

visit author page

biography

Jeremy Lingle Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Jeremy Lingle is a Research Faculty at the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, & Computing (CEISMC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies in Research, Measurement, and Statistics in 2010 from Georgia State University. His primary research focus is upon measurement of 21st Century skills and non-cognitive skills, STEM integration in K-12 education, and program evaluation.

visit author page

biography

Sunni Haag Newton Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Sunni Newton is currently a Research Associate II at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). Her research focuses on assessing the implementation and outcomes of educational interventions at the K-12 and collegiate levels. She received her MS and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Georgia Tech in 2009 and 2013, respectively. She received her BS from Georgia Tech in 2006, double-majoring in Psychology and Management.

visit author page

biography

Roxanne Moore Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Roxanne Moore is currently a Research Engineer at Georgia Tech with appointments in the school of Mechanical Engineering and the Center for Education Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Computing (CEISMC). She is involved with engineering education innovations from K-12 up to the collegiate level. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2012.

visit author page

biography

Jeffrey H. Rosen Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

After 14 years in the middle and high school math and engineering classroom where Mr. Rosen was working on the integration of engineering and robotics into the teaching of the core curricula classrooms. He has now been at Georgia Tech's CEISMC for the past 9 years working on curriculum development and research on authentic STEM instruction and directing the state's FIRST LEGO League competition program. Mr. Rosen has authored or co-authored papers and book chapters that address issues of underrepresented populations participation in engineering programs and the integration of robotics and engineering into classroom instruction.

visit author page

biography

Marion Usselman Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Marion Usselman is a Principal Research Scientist and Associate Director for Development and Educational Innovation at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). She earned her Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University and has been with CEISMC since 1996 developing and managing university-K-12 educational partnership programs. She currently leads up a team of educators and educational researchers who are exploring how to integrate science, mathematics and engineering within authentic school contexts and researching the nature of the resultant student learning

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

As part of a National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership at Georgia Institute of Technology, the 18-week engineering and technology courses present students with a series of challenges, culminating in a design challenge. Each challenge is designed to build different skills while inculcating appropriate mathematics and science content. In the 6th grade course, students explore data collection, experimental design, sketching, prototyping, statistical analysis, and communication in the context of a challenge in which students design a carnival game. In 7th grade, the focus is on airplanes, where students re-design the interior cabin and airplane shape to make more fuel-efficient, comfortable, and profitable airplanes. The 8th grade course is grounded in robotics. Students design “feet” for a walking insect-bot, render them in 3D modeling software, 3D-print the prototypes, and test the robot’s performance with respect to speed, traction, and ability to overcome obstacles. This course is also designed to encourage “students at risk” to engage academically. The purpose of this study is to explore and document students’ perspectives on the course regarding what they have found challenging, engaging, and academically useful, specifically in core mathematics and science courses.

This study is being conducted in a public school district in the Southeastern United States. Participants include 6th-8th grade students at four middle schools. Approximately 71% of the students qualify for free/reduced lunch, and the race/ethnicity subgroups are White (47%), Black (45%), Hispanic (5%), and Other (3%). The participants were all enrolled in the engineering and technology course implemented during the 2015-2016 school year. Qualitative interviews were conducted in order to explore the students’ perspectives on the course. Interviews were conducted with 92 students from all grade levels at the end of the school year. The interviews were semi-structured and lasted 20 minutes. Interview results are analyzed using an eclectic coding process (Saldana, 2013) in which a combination of holistic, descriptive, and magnitude codes were iteratively applied in order to reveal patters in the interview data. Preliminary interview results suggest that students are able to transfer knowledge between engineering and their core courses such as math and science courses. Students viewed the engineering and technology courses as allowing them to put their science and math knowledge into practice.

Alemdar, M., & Gale, J. D., & Lingle, J., & Newton, S. H., & Moore, R., & Rosen, J. H., & Usselman, M. (2017, June), Students' Perceptions of a Middle School STEM Innovation and Design Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28870

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: © 2017 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