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Uncovering K-12 Youth Engineering Design Thinking through Artifact Elicitation Interviews

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Design Thinking and Creativity

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Suzanne Eyerman Fairhaven Research and Evaluation

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Suzanne Eyerman, Ph.D. is a researcher and evaluator for STEM programs in higher education and in K-12 classrooms and afterschool programs. A former classroom teacher, Dr. Eyerman’s has investigated learning in a variety of contexts including school playgrounds and children’s museums. Currently, her works focuses on increasing the participation of women and people of color in engineering and computer science. Dr. Eyerman received her B.A. in Psychology from Monmouth University and her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research interests are in the areas of girls’ and women’s identities in STEM fields, engineering and computer science in K-12 education, and iteration.

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Sarah Hug University of Colorado, Boulder

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Dr. Sarah Hug is Research Associate at the Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society (ATLAS) Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Hug earned her PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research and evaluation efforts focus on learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with a special interest in communities of practice, creativity, and experiences of underrepresented groups in these fields across multiple contexts.

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Emily McLeod

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Tania Tauer Techbridge Girls

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This exploratory research paper investigated the use of artifact elicitation interviews (Douglas, Jordan, Lande, & Bumbaco, 2015) in understanding youth meaning-making following design-based after school engineering activities. The Next Generation Science Standards bring engineering design content to K-12 students in formal settings, yet little is known about how to formally assess learning throughout the design process, particularly at the earlier grade bands (3-5). In an effort to assess design thinking, interviews with 40 girls were videotaped as part of programmatic practice, and occurred across elementary and middle school programs in 2 cities. The interviews called on youth to give a guided, narrative description of their work on a design project accomplished in their engineering-focused girls only after school program. When possible these interviews were augmented with programmatic observations, so that the analysts could triangulate evidence from interviews with observations of girls engaged in the projects. A rubric was developed in collaboration with the curriculum development team to measure the extent to which girls expressed effective design processes, specifically: a) understanding of the design challenge, b) evaluation of design strengths and weaknesses, and c) evidence that participants were making decisions based on testing. Additionally, the participants were rated on their ability to describe the engineering design process. Two analysts viewed all videos at least twice, and when rubric scores differed, the analysts discussed the video and formed consensus on a numeric value.

Themes emerged from the data related to program implementation as well as interview implementation. First, project specificity and the existence of formal testing procedures embedded in the whole group activity supported youth descriptions of testing failures and redesign practices. Second, the physical use of the artifact in communicating knowledge was evident in many interviews in which the youth may have lacked scientific language to describe their reasoning--gesture and referential language (e.g., pointing to an element and stating ‘this part’) assisted coders in understanding whether or not youth had conceptual understanding of design features. Finally, understanding of the engineering design process was expressed in multiple ways.Interview responses indicated implicit understanding of the engineering design process through the narrative youth used to describe product development. In another segment of the interview, youth were asked to describe the engineering design process to measure explicit understanding. The analysts found incongruent responses related to implicit and explicit understanding of the engineering design process.

Eyerman, S., & Hug, S., & McLeod, E., & Tauer, T. (2018, June), Uncovering K-12 Youth Engineering Design Thinking through Artifact Elicitation Interviews Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31163

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