EiE Releases Guide to Learning Trajectories for K-8 Engineering

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/18/16 11:00 AM

table-1.jpgThe idea of integrating engineering with traditional K-12 subjects is still pretty new. If you’re a teacher looking online for age-appropriate engineering lessons, you may find what’s on offer is too challenging­—or too simplistic—for your students.  And if you’re a curriculum developer, you won’t find many resources to show what kinds of engineering kids are capable of at different ages. That’s why EiE’s research team has developed a concise set of Engineering Learning Trajectories for ages 3–12.

Understanding How Kids Learn

The new learning trajectories draw on EiE’s extensive research on “how children learn engineering.” “Kids who are twelve have different skills and abilities than kids who are three,” says EiE director Christine Cunningham. “That may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook.”

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Topics: EiE Research Results

Research Spotlight: Engineering Notebooks Make Learning More Engaging

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 6/28/16 11:00 AM

Some of the E4 data
This is just some of the data we’ve collected!

Engineering is Elementary is conducting a major research study to explore the question, “What makes an elementary engineering curriculum effective?” We’ve collected mountains of data from thousands of elementary students in hundreds of classrooms . . . and the information is helping us answer more than just this one question!

For example, we’re looking at how engineering notebooks can make learning more engaging. EiE researcher Jonathan Hertel presented some findings at the annual American Society for Engineering Education conference in New Orleans this week.

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Topics: EiE Research Results

Penn State Study Looks at Failure in Elementary Engineering Classrooms

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 5/3/16 11:00 AM

Penn State's Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson likes sports. He used to play baseball, basketball, and football; after college, he took up golf; and today, having just completed a Ph.D. in education at The Pennsylvania State University, he says that sports experience has shaped both his personal philosophy and his dissertation research. “As a serious competitor, failure doesn’t discourage me, it makes me want to improve,” he says. “So why do schools place such a stigma on failure?”

Matt’s research; which he presented yesterday in a special seminar at the Museum of Science, Boston; explores failure in elementary engineering classrooms. His data source is candid classroom videos collected by Engineering is Elementary researchers for our National Science Foundation-funded research project, E4 (“Evaluating the Efficacy of Elementary Engineering.”)

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Topics: EiE Research Results

Sneak Preview: Three EiE Research Papers for NARST 2016

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 4/12/16 11:00 AM

NARST 2016

Later this week, educational researchers from around the world will gather in Baltimore . . . not for the famous crab cakes (though those are certainly an attraction), but for a major conference on science teaching and learning. Three presentations will feature the latest research on the Engineering is Elementary curriculum.

This meeting, held April 14–17, is the 2016 Annual International Conference of NARST, a professional organization formerly known as the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. This year the conference theme is “Equity and Justice: Many Different Voices, Cultures, and Languages in Science Education Research for Quality Science Learning and Teaching.”

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Topics: EiE Research Results

Study Identifies Underrepresented Talented Students with EiE

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 12/15/15 11:00 AM

How do you identify students for gifted and talented services? Most schools look at test scores, even though many educators acknowledge this practice tends to favor white and well-to-do students while excluding qualified students from other populations.

If test scores aren’t the best way to identify talented students, what is? "Engineering is ripe with opportunities for children who have a talent for hands-on tinkering," says Ann Robinson, a researcher at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who is using the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum in a study that explores whether talented young students from underrepresented populations can be identified by their achievement in science and engineering. 

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Topics: EiE Research Results

Innovative Approach to EiE PD Puts a Coach in the Classroom

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 10/20/15 11:00 AM

The Science Museum of Minnesota - exterior view.One of the very first organizations to become part of Engineering is Elementary’s national network of professional development (PD) providers was the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). Since then, SMM educators have developed an innovative (and highly effective) approach to EiE PD. It’s called an “immersion residency.”

A typical teacher workshop takes you out of your classroom, to attend a training someplace else. With immersion residencies, SMM sends an experienced EiE educator right to your classroom, to teach an EiE curriculum unit over the course of several days while you observe and then co-teach. There’s also time for you to discuss and ask questions. SMM evaluators say this up-close-and-personal approach is getting great results!

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Topics: EiE Research Results, Professional Development

STEM Curriculum Study Will Show "What Works" in Elementary Engineering

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 7/16/15 11:00 AM

2015.07.16_E4_logo_EiEThree years ago, in August of 2012, EiE launched a new research project called “Exploring the Efficacy of Elementary Engineering,” or E4 for short. It’s what researchers call a “gold standard” efficacy study—a controlled research study designed to tease out exactly what it is that makes an elementary engineering curriculum effective. The large-scale investigation is supported by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This month, our research team wraps up the “field work” phase of the E4 investigation. Our crew has been collecting data from nearly 600 classrooms in three states (Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina). In other words, we're following more than 14,000 students as they have their first experiences with classroom engineering.

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Topics: EiE Research Results

Studying How Teachers Respond to Failure in the Engineering Classroom

Posted by Cynthia Berger on 7/7/15 11:00 AM

The word “theory” has a precise meaning for scientists . . .  and often a different meaning for politicians (“An evidence-based explanation of a phenomenon” versus “Oh, it’s just a hunch”). In much the same way, the word “failure” seems to have one meaning in the engineering workplace and another in school (“Failure is normal, it helps you learn” versus “You got a failing grade”).

2015.07.07_Pam_Lottero-Perdue_EiE_Study_Failure_1“As we bring engineering into elementary classrooms, we are bringing in a new way of thinking and speaking about failure,” says Dr. Pam Lottero-Perdue, an associate professor of science education at Towson University with a background in engineering. “Teachers will need to understand BOTH ways of thinking about failure—to become guides who help students navigate that border crossing.”

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Topics: EiE Research Results