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STEM Integration: Evidence of Student Learning in Design-Based Curricula

Abstract

This study focuses on student learning of engineering design practices and the development of engineering thinking skills during participation in design-based curricular activities and will seek to answer the question: "What evidence is present in students' engineering design project work of engineering learning?" Student teams working in a STEM integration curricular module implemented in a fifth grade science classroom were analyzed. This study employs case study methods as a means to deeply analyze each team's work through content analysis of student classroom artifacts and video analysis. We use the Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education, with a particular focus on process of design, STEM content, engineering thinking, and communication, as a lens for analyzing the engineering thinking involved in student learning. This research aims to develop an initial understanding of how to identify these engineering learning outcomes in classrooms, with the overall goal of developing engineering assessment tools for classroom teachers. Evidence of student learning outcomes for these key engineering components was found throughout student work and student interactions, though varying levels of learning were shown by each group. This study demonstrates that is it possible to identify student learning of engineering processes within a design-based curriculum.

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