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Using Business Entrepreneurship Practices to Engage Middle School Students in STEM Learning: Three Years' Perspective

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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

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 8

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jidong Huang California State University, Fullerton

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Dr. Jidong Huang is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at California State University, Fullerton. His research had been supported by National Science Foundation (NSF), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and multiple private companies. Currently, his research interests are focused on innovative approches for STEM learning; robotics; the design of high-precision, integrated navigation system with high integrity; and their indoor/outdoor applications. He is a member of American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), Institute of Navigation (ION), and a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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STEM-Inc is a STEM-Inc is a 3-year NSF ITEST project designed as an after-school program targeting 7th and 8th grade students from traditionally underrepresented groups. This project created a simulated technology business ‘incubator’ in an afterschool program for middle school students at the Anaheim Union High School District in California. Its goal is to make middle school students and their parents aware of STEM career paths in addition to engage and attract the students to STEM fields and careers. To this end, the project focuses on getting the students involved in group activities to develop solutions for real-world problems that involve Engineering, Computer Science and Business concepts.

Toward this goal, business entrepreneurship practices, including the traditional new-venture creation approach and the emerging Lean startup approach, have been applied to stimulate and engage students in STEM learning. Both approaches offered students ways to look into the inherent value of STEM learning and provided them the opportunity to engage in business development activities such as idea generation, fast pitch, design thinking and business planning. In addition, lean start up approach provided students ways to interview potential customers and quickly make pivots in their plan for delivering a product or solution to potential customers fast and efficiently. According to data collected in the project, such entrepreneurship practices well enhanced the overall STEM learning experiences of students.

As a design and development project, research questions in STEM-Inc frame formative data collection and analysis to address aspects of the design that worked and others that require revision. Summative measures focus on student learning outcomes, as well as student attitudes toward science and engineering and self-efficacy.

This paper examines the overall STEM-Inc project design and outcomes, especially the year over year changes in project implementation based on both research needs and findings from prior year. Results from three years of project implementation showed positive indicators in both formative and summative data, which supported the use of business entrepreneurship practices for engaging middle school students, especially those from underrepresented groups, in STEM learning.

Huang, J. (2018, June), Using Business Entrepreneurship Practices to Engage Middle School Students in STEM Learning: Three Years' Perspective Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31198

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