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The Video Case Diagnosis Task: Assessing Pre-Service Teachers’ Knowledge of Engineering Design Practices (work in progress)

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1255.1 - 24.1255.8



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Paper Authors


Kristen B. Wendell University of Massachusetts, Boston

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Kristen B. Wendell is Assistant Professor of Elementary Science Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Center of Science and Mathematics in Context at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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The Video Case Diagnosis Task: Assessing Pre-Service Teachers’ Knowledge of Engineering Design Practices (work in progress)With engineering practices and core ideas formally included in the Next Generation ScienceStandards, teacher preparation programs will need to consider new ways to support pre-serviceteachers’ learning to teach both science and engineering. This is especially important at theelementary school level, where teacher candidates tend to have limited academic preparation inscience and little formal exposure to engineering.Because engineering has previously not been a common component of elementary school scienceeducation, there is limited research on how elementary pre-service teachers learn to teachengineering. In this research study in progress, we are developing and investigating aninnovative model that introduces novice elementary teachers to “community-based engineeringdesign” as a strategy for teaching and learning in urban schools. Community-based engineeringexperiences for urban schools involve the finding and solving of technological problems instudents’ local environment, such as their neighborhoods, community centers, or schools.Previous work on engineering design cognition (e.g., Cross, 2004) informs our work, and we areguided by the theoretical perspectives of situated learning (e.g., Lave & Wenger, 1991) andchildren’s “funds-of-knowledge” (e.g., Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992). We have threekey research questions: During community-based engineering experiences, what is the evolutionof novice urban elementary teachers’: 1. Knowledge of engineering practices? 2. Abilities of engineering design? 3. Abilities to identify and respond productively to students’ engineering ideas and practices?Participants in the study are graduate students in their final year of an elementary teacherpreparation program. During their science teaching methods course, they solve a samplecommunity-based engineering problem developed by the course instructor. They also design acommunity-based engineering mini-lesson to implement in their elementary school practicumsetting. A subset of participants then attends a summer institute where they create and implementwith elementary students a full community-based engineering module that is connected to theschool district’s science curriculum.To answer the research questions, we are employing a mixed methods study design. Data sourcesinclude video recording of the novice teachers during community-based engineering tasks, theCreative Engineering Design Assessment (Charyton et al, 2011), a Curriculum Critique andRevision task (adapted from Forbes, 2011), and a new Video Case Diagnosis (VCD) task. In thisnew instrument, novice teachers watch a brief video of elementary students attempting to solvean engineering design problem. They then list (a) the ideas that the students express aboutscience phenomena and engineering solutions, (b) the science and engineering practices in whichthe students engage, and (c) three suggestions for how the teacher could respond productively tothe students. In the pilot-testing of the VCD, the participating elementary pre-service teachersnoticed and responded to students’ use of science and engineering technical vocabulary (e.g.,“lever,” “weight”) and students’ physical prototypes, but did not frequently attend to otherimportant engineering practices such as problem identification and consideration of multiplesolutions. In our full paper and poster we present details about the new Video Case Diagnosistask and findings from its initial administration with pre-service teachers.  ReferencesCharyton, C., Jagacinksi, R. J., Merrill, J. A., Clifton, W., & DeDios, S. (2011). Assessing creativity specific to engineering with the revised creative engineering design assessment. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(4), 778-799.Cross, N. (2004). Expertise in design: an overview. Design Studies, 25(5), 427–441.Forbes, C. T. (2011). Preservice elementary teachers’ adaptation of science curriculum materials for inquiry-based elementary science. Science Education, 95, 927-955.Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.Moll, L.C., Armanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31 (2), 132-141.  

Wendell, K. B. (2014, June), The Video Case Diagnosis Task: Assessing Pre-Service Teachers’ Knowledge of Engineering Design Practices (work in progress) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23188

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