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Improving the Implementation of Engineering Design Practices in Secondary Science Classrooms

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Various reports produced by the National Research Council suggest that K-12 curricula expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to better help students develop their ability to reason and employ scientific

Various reports produced by the National Research Council suggest that K-12 curricula expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to better help students develop their ability to reason and employ scientific habits rather than simply building scientific knowledge. Every spring, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) in conjunction with Arizona State University holds a professional development workshop titled "Engineering Practices in the Secondary Science Classroom: Engineering Training for Grade 6-12 Math and Science School Teams". This workshop provides math and science teachers with the opportunity to either sustain existing engineering proficiency or be exposed to engineering design practices for the first time. To build teachers' proficiency with employing engineering design practices, they follow a two-day curriculum designed for application in both science and math classrooms as a conjoined effort. As of spring 2015, very little feedback has been received concerning the effectiveness of the ASU-ADE workshops. New feedback methods have been developed for future deployment as past and more informal immediate feedback from teachers and students was used to create preliminary changes in the workshop curriculum. In addition, basic laboratory testing has been performed to further link together engineering problem solving with experiments and computer modelling. In improving feedback and expanding available material, the curriculum was analyzed and improved to more effectively train teachers in engineering practices and implement these practices in their classrooms.

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  • 2015-05

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An Analysis of Arizona's Political Influence on K-12 STEM Education and Its Impact on Latino Undergraduates in STEM Majors

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The aim of this study is to analyze the impact Arizona legislation has had on STEM education access, specifically for Latino students. Using socio-ecological systems theory, this study explores the

The aim of this study is to analyze the impact Arizona legislation has had on STEM education access, specifically for Latino students. Using socio-ecological systems theory, this study explores the relation between the macro and exo-systemic context of education legislation and the micro-systemic context of being a STEM undergraduate at a state university. In order to understand how STEM education is affected, legislation was analyzed through the Arizona Legislative Database. Additionally, current STEM undergraduates were interviewed in order to discover the factors that made them successful in their majors. Data from the interviews would demonstrate the influence of the Arizona legislation macro and exo-systems on the microsystemic portion of Latinos and their access to STEM education. A total of 24 students were interviewed as part of this study. Their responses shed light on the complexities of STEM education access and the importance of mentorship for success in STEM. The overall conclusion is that more efforts need to be made before STEM education is readily available to many, but the most effective way to achieve this is through mentorship.

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  • 2017-05

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Engineering the Future: Enhancing the Profile of Biomedical Engineers as a Socially Relevant Discipline

Description

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3]. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recognizes the current problems in engineering, such as the dominance of white males in the field and the amount of education needed to become a successful engineer [4]. Therefore, the NAE encourages that the current engineering community begin to expose the younger generations to the real foundation of engineering: problem-solving [4]. The objective of this thesis is to minimize the knowledge gap by assessing the current perception of engineering amongst middle school and high school students and improving it through engaging and interactive presentations and activities that build upon the students’ problem-solving abilities.

The project was aimed towards middle school and high school students, as this is the estimated level where they learn biology and chemistry—key subject material in biomedical engineering. The high school students were given presentations and activities related to biomedical engineering. Additionally, within classrooms, posters were presented to middle school students. The content of the posters were students of the biomedical engineering program at ASU, coming from different ethnic backgrounds to try and evoke within the middle school students a sense of their own identity as a biomedical engineer. To evaluate the impact these materials had on the students, a survey was distributed before the students’ exposure to the materials and after that assesses the students’ understanding of engineering at two different time points. A statistical analysis was conducted with Microsoft Excel to assess the influence of the activity and/or presentation on the students’ understanding of engineering.

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  • 2017-05

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Engineering the Future: Enhancing Diversity and Increasing Awareness of Engineering

Description

The purpose of this study was to utilize quantitative results gained through surveys to determine the effect of hands-on engineering activities and a poster study on improving understanding and awareness

The purpose of this study was to utilize quantitative results gained through surveys to determine the effect of hands-on engineering activities and a poster study on improving understanding and awareness of engineering disciplines in high school students. There was a focus on increasing participation of women and minorities in engineering to improve diversity, and this study utilized biomedical engineering as a means of achieving these goals. The analysis of this thesis focused on the results of the pre-assessment and post-assessment taken by a group of high school students before and after a program using presentations in combination with engineering activities tackling real-world problems. These assessments objectively ranked both the awareness and interest level in various engineering activities across a number of disciplines. The results were analyzed using percentages of the engineering statements that the students recognized as engineering and were interested in, as well as using t-tests. Statistical significance was found for the percentage of statements that the students expressed the highest interest level in between the initial and final survey. The other factors analyzed did not produce statistical significance, but the increase in interest level does meet one of the primary goals of the project. Since the percentages of all the positive factors did increase between the pre- and post- assessment, the study can be considered a success overall; more data is simply needed to indicate significance in these other factors. Future studies will focus on implementing this program as an after-school activity that can be led by members of the engineering community at ASU.

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  • 2017-05

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SAVE ANVORUNA: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL RELEVANCE IN COMPUTER SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Description

The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the

The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the effectiveness in communicating the scope and impact of engineering, and the effectiveness in increasing interest in computer systems engineering (CSE). This research report presents an analysis of the effects of making engineering education socially relevant, interesting and accessible. High school students participated in a learning experience in which they designed flood evacuation systems that could warn a city of incoming floods. Both pre-assessments and post-assessments were implemented to capture students' awareness of engineering tasks and their interest levels in engineering tasks. Data on students' perceptions of specific engineering tasks were analyzed quantitatively through Wilcoxon signed-rank testing and determined that the program had significant positive effects on developing more accurate conceptions of engineering tasks. The results relating to student interest in CSE indicated that there was an increased level of interest in CSE engineering tasks after the program. There was a 14% increase in number of students who found engineering tasks interesting from 64% to 78%. However, as participants self-selected to participate in this learning experience, many students had positive perceptions of engineering tasks prior to engaging in the learning experience. This study was successful and met both of its primary goals of enhancing awareness and interest in engineering in this particular group of high school students.

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  • 2017-05

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Women and Hackathons: An Analysis on Hackathons' Effects on Women's Motivation in Computer-Related Fields

Description

In today's world, technology plays a large role in everyone's life. However, there is a short supply of professionals to fill the roles in the computing field. When examining closer,

In today's world, technology plays a large role in everyone's life. However, there is a short supply of professionals to fill the roles in the computing field. When examining closer, it is clear that one group has a smaller representation: women. This can be contributed to many factors early in the women's lives and academic careers. In hopes of increasing the number of women computing professionals, this thesis aimed to understand the problem of a lack of women in technology and studied how hackathons could be a possible solution. The research followed Desert Hacks as it examines the typical participants as well as the hackathons effects on women's morale in technology. Two important questions during the investigation were what kind of women are attending hackathons and how do women feel about the technology industry after a hackathon? The results suggested that hackathon had an overall positive effect on women's motivation in the computing field. Additionally, most research participants believed that everyone has the potential to do well in the field and that gender inclusion is important for the industry. This ideology can foster a healthy environment for women to become more motivated in computing. Through these results, hackathons can be seen as another mean to help motivate women in the field and open up the possibility of future studies of women and hackathons.

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  • 2017-12

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The Importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in our Classrooms

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As a Country, the United States is continually falling behind academically when compared to other Nations. Therefore, the purpose of my Honors Thesis is to enlighten others on the importance

As a Country, the United States is continually falling behind academically when compared to other Nations. Therefore, the purpose of my Honors Thesis is to enlighten others on the importance of incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into our classrooms. When students have the chance to partake in hands on, inquiry based lessons, their new knowledge for the subject increases drastically. However, completing STEM lessons in the classroom is a challenging task. For this reason, I have designed a unit's worth of lesson plans, where the unit encompasses science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These STEM lessons are inquiry-based so that students get an understanding that science is a learning process, not just a group of facts to be memorized. The lessons are written in the 5E format, as this format is based on the way human beings learn. I wanted to make this as easy as possible for teachers to bring inquiry-based STEM learning into the classroom. When students are allowed to take control of their own learning and make discoveries for themselves, they are going to realize the excitement that comes with STEM. This will lead more students to pursue STEM careers, thus helping bring the United States back to a competitive level academically.

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  • 2016-12

Educating Students on Water Resources, the Importance of Drinking Water, and the Use of Biomimicry

Description

Clean and accessible drinking water is a crucial and limited resource. As the world's population grows and demand increases, water resources will become more limited. This project aims to educate

Clean and accessible drinking water is a crucial and limited resource. As the world's population grows and demand increases, water resources will become more limited. This project aims to educate students on water resources, drinking water, and how biomimicry can allow society to improve its water usage. The project consists of a ten day unit plan which addresses several water topics such as: the various uses of water, water distribution, where drinking water comes from, the water treatment process, and more. After establishing background knowledge on water and surrounding issues, the students will be challenged to design a water bottle using biomimicry. Biomimicry is looking at nature to draw and inspire solutions to human problems. This unit has been optimized for use by elementary teachers. The ten day unit consists of a lesson summary, objectives, standards, and recommended activities for each day. Of the ten days, three lesson plans were fully developed using the 5E format. The research supporting this project is compiled in the following report.

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  • 2016-12

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Factors Affecting Students' Capabilities to Pursue a STEM Field

Description

This paper explores factors to study why the number of students in STEM are not as high as they could be. Based on both Veda and Soumya's personal experiences, factors

This paper explores factors to study why the number of students in STEM are not as high as they could be. Based on both Veda and Soumya's personal experiences, factors were chosen to understand their impact on whether a high school student would choose a STEM major in their college of choice, which could lead them to having a career in STEM. The factors explored will be location, grade level, school, parent/guardian involvement, teacher involvement, media influences, and personal interest. Data was collected through surveys sent to both high school and college students. The high school data came solely from schools in the Phoenix area, whereas college students' data came from across the world. These surveys contained questions regarding all of the above factors and were crafted so that we could gain further insight into each factor without producing bias. Each factor had at least one personal experience by either Veda or Soumya. Many of the survey responses gave insight to how and why a student would decide to pursue STEM or why they did pursue STEM. The main implications derived from the study are the following: the importance of a good support network, active parent/guardian and teacher involvement, and specifically active science teacher involvement. Data from both college and high school students showed that students highly valued a science teacher. One recommendation from this thesis is to provide a training for teachers to learn about how to connect concepts they teach to real-world applications. This can be administered through the district so that they may bring in anyone they feel is qualified to teach such topics such as industry professionals or teachers who specialize in teaching STEM. The last recommendation is for parents to participate in a workshop that will inform them of how to be more involved/engaged with their student.

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  • 2016-12

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Learning Physics Through Dance: An 8th Grade STEAM Curriculum

Description

In recent education trends, an emphasis has been placed on teaching students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. Many researchers have advocated for integrating Arts education as well,

In recent education trends, an emphasis has been placed on teaching students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. Many researchers have advocated for integrating Arts education as well, changing STEM education to STEAM (STEM + Arts) education. This paper describes an original 8th Grade physics curriculum integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). The curriculum was designed to teach core science concepts through inquiry and dance activities. The curriculum uses the 5E inquiry format, specifically using dance and movement activities to elaborate on the learned science content. The unit curriculum is designed to be implemented in an 8th Grade science classroom based on best practices in Science Instruction and Dance Education. The curriculum was not implemented as a research study this year, but is designed to support research in the future. The curriculum was however presented to Term 6 Pre-service Teachers in Mary Lou Fulton Teacher's College at ASU, whom evaluated the effectiveness of the lessons and offered feedback. This paper includes a review of current literature on STEAM education and dance integration, rationale for the curriculum's 5E Format and dance integration, the entire physics unit curriculum in 5E format, Pre-service Teacher feedback, and implications for a future research study with the unit curriculum.

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  • 2016-12