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The K-12 InVenture Challenge: Inspiring Future STEM Innovators

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Beyond the University

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Roxanne Moore Georgia Institute of Technology

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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.

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Meltem Alemdar Georgia Institute of Technology

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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).

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Sunni Haag Newton Georgia Institute of Technology

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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.

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Anna Newsome Holcomb Georgia Institute of Technology, CEISMC

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Anna Holcomb serves as a Research Associate I at CEISMC specializing in the utilization of qualitative research methods in K-12 STEM education research and program evaluation. She received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy from Georgia Tech, and a Master of Science in Educational Research with a concentration in Research, Measurement, and Statistics from Georgia State University.

Anna spent five years working on the project management side of several federally funded projects before joining CEISMC's Research and Evaluation team in October 2015. She is now enjoying conducting research concerning the policy impacts of educational reform, curriculum development and implementation, and the role of culture in educational experiences.

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The K-12 InVenture Challenge inspires K-12 educators and students to innovate solutions to real-world problems of the students’ choosing. Modeled after _____’s InVenture Prize, a ‘Shark-Tank’ style competition for _______ undergraduates that is televised throughout _______, the InVenture Challenge attempts to deliver the same authentic experience to K-12 schools by providing a framework, curriculum, and competition that can be used by K-12 teachers in a variety of disciplines to foster innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in student inventors. The InVenture Challenge is different from many other invention competitions in that teamwork is strongly encouraged, and the teacher is a vital part of facilitating the process. When students participate in the InVenture Challenge, they do not work alone at home; rather, they are collaborating with up to two student peers and their teacher is guiding them through an engineering design process. As a result, the InVenture Challenge is inclusive and diverse—about half of K-12 participants are female and nearly 40% are underrepresented minorities.

The contributions of this paper are two-fold. First, a model is provided for a K-12 innovation program aimed at empowering underrepresented groups in engineering by looking further down the pipeline. Such a program could readily be replicated at other universities and is useful in broadening perceptions around engineering, recruiting and retaining talent into STEM fields, and developing skills, including entrepreneurial thinking and collaboration. The second contribution of this paper is an analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected from InVenture Challenge teachers during the fourth year of implementation (2015 – 2016 academic year). Included in the research are surveys about self-efficacy in teaching both engineering and entrepreneurship, a work engagement scale, and a motivation scale. Teachers also provide details about their unique implementation settings and respond to items about various ways in which participating in InVenture Challenge potentially impacted their students. Also included is a thematic analysis of interview and focus group data on perceptions of the impact of InVenture Challenge participation on students, specifics of implementation in different environments, and reflections on gender effects. Survey results indicate that InVenture Challenge teachers feel confident in their ability to teach engineering and entrepreneurship, are highly engaged in their work, and report being driven by a variety of positive factors to participate in the program. In general, teachers perceive the InVenture Challenge as an engaging way of broadening participation in engineering, expanding the students’ experiences outside of the classroom, fostering teamwork and collaboration, and building a partnership with _______.

Moore, R., & Alemdar, M., & Newton, S. H., & Holcomb, A. N. (2017, June), The K-12 InVenture Challenge: Inspiring Future STEM Innovators Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28985

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