The broad case being made in this paper is that recognizing student assets—rather than focusing on deficits—is essential for making engineering education more equitable. The paper begins with our exploration of an epistemic practice of engineering, ‘‘making trade-offs,’’ as enacted by kindergartners after experiencing design failure and during redesign. We then acknowledge through a reexamination of data that our understanding of children’s grappling about a trade-off was incomplete without considering another asset that children brought to the design experience: ‘‘enacting empathy and an ethic of care.’’ We argue for the inclusion of this asset as an epistemic practice of engineering. Doing so has implications for improving learning experiences, research, and equity in engineering education.



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