- February 2014
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I have been thinking about a how robotics skills intersect. This Venn diagram show my first stab at a taxonomy of robotics skills and how engineering, programming, and building intersect in educational robotics. This still needs work but I would welcome any comments and feedback.
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Hmelo, C. E., Holden, D. A., & Kolodner, J. L. (2000). Designing to Learn about Complex Systems. The Journal of the Learning Sciences,, 9(3), 247–298.
Hynes, M., Crismond, D., & Brizuela, B. (2010). AC 2010-447: MIDDLE-SCHOOL TEACHERS’ USE AND DEVELOPMENT OF ENGINEERING SUBJECT MATTER KNOWLEDGE. American Society for Engineering Education.
Kendall, M. A. L. M., & Wendell, K. (2012). AC 2012-4068: UNDERSTANDING THE BELIEFS AND PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS WHO CHOOSE TO IMPLEMENT ENGINEERING-BASED SCIENCE INSTRUCTION. Presented at the ASEE Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX: American Society for Engineering Education. Retrieved from http://www.asee.org/file_server/papers/attachment/file/0002/3140/ASEE_Paper_Final_Draft.pdf
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Here are some photos from our grade 3 open ended challenge to design a WeDo vehicle. I reviewed 3 ways to connect motor to wheels before they started: gears, pulleys, or direct drives. Students used the base WeDo kit. However, I added additional long axles and tires/wheel from the WeDo Resource kit.
One girl did some design drawings, which is unusual without it being required. I suggested it but did not require it.
A few of you may be interested in this literature review of design based science I just completed. It reviews a good number of papers and studies that evaluate how science concepts and processes can be taught using design. Design includes engineering and robotics. Here’s the abstract.
Although robotics has been identified as a promising way to increase STEM interest and also teach science concepts (Brophy, Portsmore, Klein, & Rogers, 2008), there is no research of student use of robotics in a sustained elementary program. The studies that do exist show promising results for short term robotics programs in middle and high school (Hynes, 2007; Sullivan, 2008). There are many studies that use design, engineering, or robotics as a way to teach science concepts. This literature review examines relevant papers on using design to teach science and engineering concepts. The goal of the review is to determine the most relevant theoretical frameworks and methodologies that can be used or modified in a longitudinal case study of elementary robotics students. A model for classifying the studies is presented. The studies uniformly use a constructivist, constructionist, and social constructivist approach. The studies vary in the age group studied, study methodologies, and the secondary goals of the instruction apart from the science focus. The studies report positive results but differ in their recommendations for instruction strategies. However, common themes are providing appropriate scaffolding to connect the design tasks to specific science concepts and processes.
Because the orientation changed, it was inexplicably split into 3 pieces when I created the PDF from Word.
Toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners are natural engineers. They love sand castles, blocks, fairy houses, and other projects that support their creative, fantasy play. We support this natural engineering instinct in preschool and kindergarten classrooms with blocks, LEGOs, sand and water tables, and other activities. As students reach first grade and beyond, we remove all these activities from school. Yet we still expect them be interested in engineering when they get to high school and college.
The Elementary Engineering Curriculum (EEC), described in this book, supports students’ natural engineering interests all through elementary school. The EEC delivers a preschool to grade six engineering experience based on BeeBot, and LEGO WeDo, NXT, and EV3 robotics. Each year, students have at least one robotics unit. In grades K, two, three, four, six, students also have an open ended engineering challenge. The EEC explicitly teaches the engineering design process in an age appropriate way. Robotics provides very high interest, motivating, and deep learning experience for students. This book contains rationale, descriptions, research, and teaching tips on elementary robotics as well as complete lesson plans and standards alignment for the curriculum.
Two great designers and great grade 6 kids, Kyle and Mark, worked together in an exceptional way to break my current record for dragster cars. They achieved 7.7 ft/sec beating the old record of 7.63 ft/sec. They created a dozen or so different designs in our once a week, 8 week unit.
I am in the (hopefully) final throes of producing my book Elementary Engineering: Sustaining the Natural Engineering Instincts of Children. I decided to self publish through createspace.com. Going through large companies was taking to long. I hope to have it available within a month. It sure has been a ton of work! But I think it will be a valuable book for PK-6 robotics teachers.
How much young students can plan ahead is a hot topic in educational research (well, at least to me). In discussing our recent designs, my son Aidan (age 7) volunteered that that he thinks about a design ahead of time and then tries to build it. I also noticed today that he seems much more interested in symmetry in his designs. I would like to research various design properties such a symmetry and see how they develop over time.