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ERIC Number: EJ1127958
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Engineering Design in the Primary School: Applying STEM Concepts to Build an Optical Instrument
King, Donna; English, Lyn D.
International Journal of Science Education, v38 n18 p2762-2794 2016
Internationally there is a need for research that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to equip students with the skills needed for a rapidly changing future. One way to do this is through designing engineering activities that reflect real-world problems and contextualise students' learning of STEM concepts. As such, this study examined the learning that occurred when fifth-grade students completed an optical engineering activity using an iterative engineering design model. Through a qualitative methodology using a case study design, we analysed multiple data sources including students' design sketches from eight focus groups. Three key findings emerged: first, the collaborative process of the first design sketch enabled students to apply core STEM concepts to model construction; second, during the construction stage students used experimentation for the positioning of lenses, mirrors and tubes resulting in a simpler "working" model; and third, the redesign process enabled students to apply structural changes to their design. The engineering design model was useful for structuring stages of design, construction and redesign; however, we suggest a more flexible approach for advanced applications of STEM concepts in the future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools; Grade 6
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A