Engineering in K-12 classrooms has been receiving expanding emphasis in the United States. The integration of science, mathematics, and engineering is a benefit and goal of K-12 engineering; however, current empirical research on the efficacy of K-12 science, mathematics, and engineering integration is limited. This study adds to this growing field, using discourse analysis techniques to examine whether and why students integrate math and science concepts into their engineering design work. The study focuses on student work during a unit from a high school engineering course. Video data were collected during the unit and were used to identify episodes of students discussing math and science concepts. Using discourse analysis, the authors found that students successfully applied math and science concepts to their engineering design work without teacher prompting when the concepts were familiar. However, explicit teacher prompting and instruction regarding the integration of less familiar concepts did not seem to facilitate student use of those concepts. Possible explanations and implications are discussed.
Valtorta, Clara G. and Berland, Leema K.
"Math, Science, and Engineering Integration in a High School Engineering Course: A Qualitative Study,"
Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER):
1, Article 3.