Evidence of Students’ Engineering Learning in an Elementary Classroom Over the past decade there has been an increased emphasis on improving the teaching andlearning of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.With the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013, whichcall for the integration of science and engineering concepts and practices in K-12classrooms, there has also been an increased emphasis on engineering education at the K-12 level. However, given that engineering integration at the elementary level is stillrelatively recent, there is a need for research in the area of engineering education toexamine how these national documents and policies emphasizing the integration ofengineering are being translated into classroom practice. This research is part of a larger project that seeks to understand and identify the ways inwhich teachers implement engineering into their classrooms. More specifically, this studyfocuses on examining student learning of engineering design practices and thedevelopment of engineering thinking skills as a result of teacher implementation of anintegrated STEM curriculum that uses engineering design to facilitate science,mathematics, and engineering learning. The research question is: What evidence ofstudents’ engineering learning is present during the implementation of an elementaryengineering unit? This study employs a case study methodology, which allows for in-depth exploration ofthe implementation of an integrated STEM curriculum in a classroom setting through acontent analysis of student artifact and classroom video. We use the Framework forQuality K-12 Engineering Education, with a particular focus on process of design, STEMcontent, engineering thinking, teamwork, communication, as a lens for analyzing theengineering learning and thinking observed during this elementary STEM unit. Preliminary results shed light on the types of evidence that can be used to identify studentlearning and thinking in engineering, including young students working in teamseffectively and pedagogical strategies that provide gains in STEM learning and self-efficacy. This research aims to develop an understanding of student learning outcomes inengineering as teachers implement STEM integration curricular units in their elementaryclassrooms. As more schools and teachers are integrating engineering and STEM intotheir classrooms instruction, it will be important for teacher educators and educationalresearchers to gain a better understanding of what factors are influencing this integrationof engineering and what supports can be provided to facilitate successful teaching andlearning at the elementary level.
Engineering education, evidence of learning, elementary engineering education, k-12 engineering education
Date of this Version
Tank, K. M., & Moore, T. J., & Babajide, B., & Rynearson, A. M. (2015, June), Evidence of Students’ Engineering Learning in an Elementary Classroom Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24035