1. Abby Rhinehart
  2. Communications Specialist
  3. Research+Practice Collaboratory
  4. http://researchandpractice.org/
  5. University of Washington, Institute for Science and Math Education
  1. Philip Bell
  2. http://education.uw.edu/people/faculty/pbell
  3. Professor of Learning Sciences & Human Development
  4. Research+Practice Collaboratory
  5. http://researchandpractice.org/
  6. University of Washington, Institute for Science and Math Education
  1. Veronica Cassone McGowan
  2. Research+Practice Collaboratory
  3. http://researchandpractice.org/
  4. University of Washington, Institute for Science and Math Education
  1. Marcia Ventura
  2. Research+Practice Collaboratory
  3. http://researchandpractice.org/
  4. Seattle Public Schools
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Marcia Ventura

    Marcia Ventura

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 12:21 p.m.

    The connections that students made in this activity were surprising to me as a teacher here. These fifth graders saw engineering as a thread that connected throughout all of the various subjects we had studied throughout the year.-MV

  • Icon for: Jorge Solis

    Jorge Solis

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 05:07 p.m.

    Great examples of how to get children to notice engineering design elements in everyday life. Could you share a few more examples uncovered through these conversations?

  • Icon for: Marcia Ventura

    Marcia Ventura

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 05:55 p.m.

    If you start from the premise of the engineering triangle, than really so much of what we do in life is engineering. The kids caught up to that very quickly. They are constantly given opportunities to solve problems that have criteria and constraints, and they work to develop solutions and optimize them. For example: last fall several countries in western Africa were dealing with the epidemic of Ebola. Students soon began thinking of how doctors and health care workers could prevent getting the disease themselves. They began to work on models about this very idea.

  • Icon for: Jorge Solis

    Jorge Solis

    Facilitator
    May 20, 2016 | 09:07 a.m.

    Great thanks Marcia. It makes sense that children would grapple with local ecological related matters. Any final tips you would give classroom teachers ?

  • Icon for: Philip Bell

    Philip Bell

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2016 | 11:02 p.m.

    In case people are interested in learning more about how Marcia was engaging students in engineering projects in support of science learning, here are a few resources:

    Story: Fifth-Grade Rocket Scientists
    http://researchandpractice.org/fifth-grade-rock...

    Curriculum Unit & Classroom Video
    https://www.teachingchannel.org/cubesat-enginee...

    Other Engineering Curriculum Units & Classroom Video
    https://www.teachingchannel.org/engineering-cur...

  • Icon for: Michel DeGraff

    Michel DeGraff

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2016 | 11:52 p.m.

    What a great idea to have students, very early on, “engage with engineering design in ways that are culturally and personally relevant.” Can you say more about the cultural relevance of some of these engineering-design projects?

  • Icon for: Philip Bell

    Philip Bell

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 12:08 a.m.

    We work from the perspective highlighted in the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education that all STEM learning is a cultural accomplishment: http://www.nap.edu/read/13165/chapter/16#283

    It is also helpful that the Framework also defines engineering broadly as: “any engagement in a systematic practice of design to achieve solutions to particular human problems.” (NRC, 2012, p. 46).

    This means that all communities have a history and current practice of engaging in design with respect to their cultural practices. This can include youth design knowledge developed through engagement with Minecraft or physical building block systems, how families engage in the systematic design of community gardens, how families engage in textile / crafting design work, and professional design work in urban planning, architecture, or teaching (which is a design-focused profession!). It casts a broad net of design-related practice to leverage in the classroom. I’ll let my collaborators chime in with other examples.

  • Icon for: Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 11:50 a.m.

    In addition, Marcia used students everyday experiences to ground all of our engineering design projects. Rather than foregrounding science content knowledge at the start of a design project, she had students reflect on everyday connections to the design task. This took many forms from whole and small group reflections and journal entries to self-documentation- where students took home digital cameras and shared pictures of engineering design solutions from their communities as part of the problem-solving process.

  • Icon for: Marcelo Worsley

    Marcelo Worsley

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 12:29 a.m.

    I liked the line of inquiry that has students think about engineering in their everyday lives. Related to this, have you noticed any changes in how students define what it means to be an engineer or in their career aspirations?

  • Icon for: Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 12:01 p.m.

    We’re still processing the interview data from last year, but our early findings suggest that broadening what counts as engineering helped students locate their everyday activities within engineering, and also apply engineering problem solving methods to their everyday lives in new ways. Early on students often connected engineering to making things and building things, which connected to areas of play and fixing things in their everyday lives. As the year progressed, students started seeing engineering design as an approach to problem solving rather than a discipline or topic. We found that in addition to broadening what counted as engineering, they also started to take a design-based approach to new tasks. For example, a few students talked about how they approached homework differently over the course of the year- they saw it as a problem to learn from over and over, rather than something to “get right” the first time. Students also started to see connections between engineering, technology, and social issues- I think that was one of the biggest changes in their thinking about engineering over the course of the year.

  • Icon for: Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2016 | 11:45 a.m.

    The Framework and NGSS highlight two aspects of engineering design learning. First that students understand that engineering, technology, and science are interdependent, and second that society guides the adoption of these principles, and their application can impact the natural world. One of our research goals for this year was to broaden what counts as engineering learning to include having students learn ways that infrastructure and our designed world impact social structures. Students are overwhelmingly taught that success, health, etc. are based on individual actions or “grit” in the face of challenges. However, we know that access to resources is not equally distributed and that these inequities have huge impacts on an individual’s opportunities and health. One of the biggest connections that surfaced during this year of instruction was that between infrastructure/ engineering, clean water, poverty, and health.

  • Icon for: Michel DeGraff

    Michel DeGraff

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2016 | 12:10 p.m.

    What an insightful exchange! Thank you for these answers (and for Marcelo’s question too!). I particularly like the connections being made between engineering and social issues and student’s everyday lives. This is certainly one nice way to bridge the traditional dichotomy between STEM and the Humanities.

    In this vein, perhaps the next question has to do with how the students’ engineering projects can feed into, and be fed by, the sort of civic participation that can actually change decisions being made about “clean water, poverty, and health” (think of Flint, for example).

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. I am all the more interested that I recently participated in a Forum on exactly that question—the relationship between STEM and political participation, which I am now sharing with as many STEM and Humanities colleagues as I can (sorry…) http://bostonreview.net/forum/danielle-allen-wh...

  • Icon for: Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Veronica Cassone McGowan

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2016 | 08:02 p.m.

    Great article- thank you for posting! I totally agree that civic and political engagement are ideal and natural extensions to this type of activity. In particular engaging students in engineering habits of mind such as synthesis and systems thinking can enable them to make well-informed decisions about where to orient their civic activities. For example, in this lesson surface connections between infrastructure, disease, and engineering easily emerged for students. However, it wasn’t until they engaged in more discussion and critical thinking w/ the teacher’s support that connections to poverty, race and social inequities surfaced at the base of the more obvious issues. Ideally, I hope that STEM education will be oriented not just towards producing scientists and engineers for economic reasons, but towards producing technologically literate citizens who can critically engage in our increasingly technological society.

  • Icon for: Michel DeGraff

    Michel DeGraff

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2016 | 08:17 p.m.

    Glad you like the Forum on “What is education for?” And your answer and the projects you describe show exactly why the STEM-vs-Humanities dichotomy is only apparent. Once we do STEM and the Humanities in the right way, then the two nicely complement each other and lead to better citizens that can more critically and productively engage with our world—exactly as you say.

    Perhaps this is yet another aspect of your project to drum up, especially as we consider the disasters that we’re flirting with in so many dimensions of today’s world, due to too much science with too little critical thinking and activism—-or too much critical thinking and activism with too little science.

    Good luck with next steps!

  • Icon for: Jean Ryoo

    Jean Ryoo

    Senior Researcher
    May 17, 2016 | 01:04 p.m.

    Great video! I love how new learning in engineering is rooted in the skills and knowledge students are bringing into the classroom. And what a great note to end on, Marcia: seeing students as partners in the learning space!

  • Small default profile

    Kerri Wingert

    Guest
    May 18, 2016 | 11:22 p.m.

    I’m really enjoying the discussion around the video here. As a grad researcher on this project, I’d like to add that cultural relevance: 1) academic achievement 2) cultural connection, and 3) critical awareness are at the heart of what our projects try to pull off. The students in this video are thinking HARD about how they can use scientific knowledge and practices to make their world a better place despite unequal sharing of resources.

  • Icon for: Dawn O'Connor

    Dawn O'Connor

    Director/ Co-I
    May 19, 2016 | 08:36 p.m.

    The view of students as seen as knowledgable and creating engineering focus that is meaningful to the students. I agree with Michel DeGraff’s comment and the importance of engineering and social issues.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.