Elementary Engineering Education (NSF DRK-12...

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This is an archive of the data and data collection instruments from a five-year (2008-2013) NSF-funded DRK-12 project (DRL 0822261). Grades 2 to 4 teachers in a single school district were provided teacher professional development (TPD) with engineering education in a week-long summer academy. This TPD prepared to teachers to (1) convey a broad perspective of the nature and practice of engineering, (2) articulate the differences and similarities between engineering and science thinking, (3) develop a level of comfort in discussing what engineers do and how engineers solve problems with elementary students, and (4) use problem-solving processes (i.e., science inquiry, model development, and design processes) to engage elementary students in complex open-ended problem solving. With ongoing support during the academic year, teachers introduced their students to the definitions of engineering and technology, the work of engineers, and the engineering design process. Then teachers engaged their students in an Engineering is Elementary (http://www.eie.org) design activity linked to science content. Teachers returned the following summer for an additional three days of TPD with engineering and then went back to their classrooms to teach engineering for a second year.  Four cohorts of teachers and their students were involved in the study. Teachers were involved anywhere from 1 to 5 years; students were involved anywhere from 1 to 3 years.

The research questions guiding this study were: 

  • What is desired student achievement as a result of integrating engineering in formal elementary education? How should student achievement be measured to provide evidence of successful TPD and teacher community around engineering?
  • What teacher knowledge, skills, and behaviors (KAB) are necessary for successful and sustained integration of engineering in elementary classrooms? How should teacher KAB be measured to provide evidence of successful TPD and community building around engineering?
  • What attributes of quality TPD and teacher community support and sustain integration of engineering for desired student achievement?

The primary data collected were:

  • Teacher interviews, conducted with all teachers towards the end of each academic year;
  • Three student assessments, completed by all students at the beginning and end of the academic year: (1) grade-level specific Science Knowledge Test (SKT), (3) Engineering Identity Development Scale (EIDS), and (3) the Draw an Engineer Test (DAET, http://eie.org/media/4173 part 4 only); and
  • Student interviews, conducted with a subset of students at the beginning and end of the academic year.  

Additional teacher data were collected, primarily around the summer academies.  

Researchers with legitimate research interests in the data may contact Heidi Diefes-Dux.

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