Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Pre-College Engineering Education
To support teachers in providing all students with opportunities to engage in engineering learning activities, it is important to examine the ways that elementary teachers scaffold engineering ideas and practices to meet the diverse needs of learners. This study focuses on teachers’ verbal scaffolds in classroom discussions across two sections of a fifth grade class. These class sections were co-taught by two teachers implementing a four-week, NGSS-aligned unit that challenged students to redesign their school to reduce water runoff. School-level placement of students in the class sections was based on student achievement in mathematics; one class section had a large proportion of students with disabilities. Therefore, we examine the research question: How and to what extent do teachers verbally scaffold students’ engagement with engineering practices differently across sections in an NGSS-aligned integrated science unit?
This study focuses particularly on three of the unit’s activities where the student goals were to 1) generate design solutions to limit the impact of water runoff on their school playground based on their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of different design materials and 2) test their design solutions using a computational model to determine which best meets the criteria of the design challenge. Classroom audio data was collected daily in both class sections and coded to represent instances in which the teachers scaffold students’ engagement with engineering practices. These instances were further analyzed to differentiate the quality of scaffolds within various types of teacher talk.
The results of this study illustrate the ways that teachers adapted an NGSS-aligned curriculum differently to meet the needs of students within their leveled class sections. Initial results reveal the quality of teachers’ talk often varied between the class sections depending on the instructional activity. Results indicate that teachers utilized a variety of scaffolds to support students’ engagement in different engineering practices. Further, our results reveal that the quality of teacher scaffolding also widely varied between the class sections. This difference in quality of scaffolds may decrease the opportunities for students to rigorously engage with the engineering practices. Results from this study will inform future research on the kinds of educative supports needed within engineering and other NGSS-based curriculum as well as professional development for elementary teachers. As teachers implement integrated engineering activities across different class levels, we hope to support their teaching so that all students can equitably engage in engineering learning opportunities.
Lilly, S., & McAlister, A. M., & Fick, S. J., & Chiu, J. L., & McElhaney, K. W. (2020, June), Supporting Upper Elementary Students’ Engineering Practices in an Integrated Science and Engineering Unit Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35258
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