Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
Recent U.S national documents highlight the importance of engineering in the development and implementation of effective STEM units. However, there is not enough research exploring successful ways of integrating engineering concepts and practices at the K-12 level. Specifically, there is need to investigate teacher talk about engineering to their students within the context of science classes. This study analyzed the practices of an exemplary middle school life science teacher around engineering as he implemented a STEM integration unit to address the research question: How does an exemplary middle school life-science teacher talk about engineering during an engineering design-based STEM integration unit? The teacher participated in three years of professional development to learn about and develop STEM integration curriculum and was chosen because his students demonstrated high levels of learning in science and engineering throughout the three years. This study used a case study approach to analyze the teacher’s talk throughout a STEM integration unit. For each of the twenty class periods in the unit, transcriptions of whole class discussions were analyzed using The Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education. The coded results were further analyzed using process flowcharts and compared with examples throughout the unit.
This study found that the teacher integrated engineering throughout the unit by framing lessons around problem scoping and incorporating engineering ideas into scientific discussions. He organized individual lessons and the overall unit aligned with the engineering design process and previewed and summarized content learning in terms of the client’s problem. He stayed true to the context of the engineering challenge and treated the students as young engineers, building on student ideas to have discussions about engineering.
This teacher’s integration of engineering motivated students to be successful and modeled the practices of informed designers to help students effectively learn engineering in the context of their science classroom. This study has implications for educators and curriculum developers to align their engineering teacher talk with effective practice.
Johnston, A. C., & Akarsu, M., & Moore, T. J., & Guzey, S. S. (2018, June), Teacher Engineering Talk About Problem Scoping in a Middle School Engineering Design-based STEM Integration Unit (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31043
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