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ERIC Number: ED514444
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 310
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-4599-6
Exploring How Experience with Planning Impacts First Grade Students' Planning and Solutions to Engineering Design Problems
Portsmore, Merredith D.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Tufts University
This dissertation presents research that investigated how first grade students' ability to construct solutions and to plan through drawing for engineering design problems is related to their participation in a LEGO-based engineering curriculum with two variations on the instruction for planning. The quasi-experimental design engaged two first grade classrooms in an urban K-6 Science and Technology elementary school outside of Boston, MA in a set of activities that asked students to construct solutions to engineering design problems inspired by the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." The "planning classroom" was provided with instructions on how to plan and students were required to plan through drawing prior to constructing their solution to engineering design problems. Students in the "spontaneous classroom" were not given instruction in planning and were allowed immediate access to materials to construct their solution. Students' drawings and constructed artifacts for engineering design problems during pre and post assessments as well as during the classroom were collected. The analysis of the classroom data found that students were able to successfully construct solutions to engineering design problems with increasingly number of requirements. Pre and post comparisons of students' performance on problems with materials they had had extensive experience with (LEGO) and craft materials (non-LEGO) found that students only made gains in constructing solutions to engineering design problems with materials they had prior experience with. The planning intervention appeared to have no relationship with students' ability to construct solutions that addressed requirements that were clearly presented to the students. However, there may be a relationship with less obvious requirements regarding aesthetics (as measured by symmetry of the artifacts) and material selection. In general, the findings suggest that planning through drawing may help students preserve their ideas but that first grade students do not use drawings for planning in the same manner as adults do. Implications for engineering education for early elementary are also discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts