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.