The Lawrence Hall of Science, a science center, seeks to replicate real-world engineering at the Ingenuity in Action exhibit, which consists of three open-ended challenges. These problems encourage children to engage in engineering design processes and problem-solving techniques through tinkering. We observed and interviewed 112 visitor groups at the exhibit to understand how children engage in engineering behaviors extracted from the steps of a design process and to what extent they are aware of these processes. We found that all but one group exhibited engineering behaviors, and facilitation and collaboration positively correlated with engineering behaviors. The Ingenuity in Action exhibit establishes a successful framework of designing for engineering learning.
Wang, Jennifer; Werner-Avidon, Maia; Newton, Lisa; Randol, Scott; Smith, Brooke; and Walker, Gretchen
"Ingenuity in Action: Connecting Tinkering to Engineering Design Processes,"
Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER):
1, Article 2.