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Making and Engineering in K-12 settings

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Jasmine McBeath Nation
added a research item
There is a growing demand in the US for more engineers, yet attrition rates from university engineering programs are high and diversity in engineering is low. Few resources have been dedicated to the improvement of freshman engineering courses even though freshman students have the highest rates of attrition. Through a synthesis of the literature on inclusive instructional strategies and participant structures in educational settings, we developed, implemented, and researched a freshman mechanical engineering design course that incorporated elements of project-based learning, collaboration, service-learning, and customer-oriented design through a partnership with a local elementary school. Our research was grounded in the value and competence belief constructs defined by expectancy-value theory. Engineering values include enjoying engineering tasks, viewing engineering as useful, and identifying as an engineer and engineering competence beliefs encompass beliefs in one's engineering abilities in the present, as well expectancies for success in the future. Rich qualitative data collected from 72 undergraduate participants suggested that this course was both highly valued and helpful for increasing engineering competence beliefs. Further, these positive impacts were consistent across gender. From our results, we provide recommendations for strategies to help grow and diversify engineering.
Jasmine McBeath Nation
added a research item
This study used cultural historical activity theory to make meaning of a digital fabrication project situated in the complexity of a classroom. Using an ethnographic perspective, we observed 14 students (aged 13–14) in a middle school’s creative design and engineering class inspired by the Maker Movement. Working with the classroom teacher, a professional stuntman tasked students with fabricating a prosthetic bone for use as a movie prop using their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Teacher interviews and student focus groups revealed differences in perceptions between their science class and engineering class. Additionally, affordances and constraints of the 3D printer as the tool for construction are presented, as identified by student and teacher participants. Finally, two illustrative vignettes are presented to depict tensions that emerged due to facilitating this digital fabrication project within the traditional confines of a classroom. https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jpeer/vol9/iss1/6/
Jasmine McBeath Nation
added an update
This study used cultural historical activity theory to make meaning of a digital fabrication project situated in the complexity of a classroom. Using an ethnographic perspective, we observed 14 students (aged 13–14) in a middle school’s creative design and engineering class inspired by the Maker Movement. Working with the classroom teacher, a professional stuntman tasked students with fabricating a prosthetic bone for use as a movie prop using their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Teacher interviews and student focus groups revealed differences in perceptions between their science class and engineering class. Additionally, affordances and constraints of the 3D printer as the tool for construction are presented, as identified by student and teacher participants. Finally, two illustrative vignettes are presented to depict tensions that emerged due to facilitating this digital fabrication project within the traditional confines of a classroom
 
Jasmine McBeath Nation
added a research item
Despite the potential of the maker movement to influence how we teach students in school, thus far, most research on maker activities have taken place in informal spaces, such as museums and after-school programs, which are inaccessible to some populations. To ensure maker education reaches all students, it must find its place at school. However, classroom-based maker activities have different constraints and may require teachers to hold different types of knowledge. We drew from the body of research on maker education to create a course that prepared pre-service elementary school teachers to implement activities that were consistent with the maker ethos and met state and district standards. As a course assignment, the teacher candidates designed and hosted a School Maker Faire for elementary school children, providing an opportunity for local children to participate in maker activities and for pre-service elementary school teachers to design, facilitate, and reflect on maker education as a method of teaching science. In this paper, we delineate the constituent parts of maker pedagogical content knowledge and describe how pre-service teachers developed the appropriate knowledge for integrating maker education activities into their classroom curriculum. We propose that the knowledge teachers need to facilitate and assess student learning through maker education is more complex than either science pedagogical content knowledge or engineering pedagogical content knowledge. http://link-springer-com-443.webvpn.jxutcm.edu.cn/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-97475-0_14