Engineering design in the elementary science classroom: supporting student discourse during an engineering design challenge

Justin McFadden, Gillian H Roehrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This exploratory case study examines how various instructional strategies can influence elementary-aged student discourse patterns during an engineering design challenge. With engineering design increasingly entering the elementary science classroom both within the United States and internationally, students must now engage in discipline-specific practices intended to mirror the work of professional engineers. The current study analyzed classroom discourse over the length of an instructional unit using an analytical lens informed by Heath’s (in: Masten (ed) The Minnesota symposia on child psychology, Psychology Press, New York, pp. 59–75, 1999) concept of joint work, which revealed how three parallel and complimentary discourse practices emerged primarily and more readily once students were given access to the materials needed for their mining extraction tool. The study’s findings illustrate the importance of designing and implementing pedagogical supports capable of ensuring students understand how their drawn designs can be used (Henderson in Sci Technol Hum Values 16(4):448–473, 1991) to manage the uncertainty that naturally arises during an engineering design challenge. Furthermore, the results point to the need for further research at the classroom level that investigates how students can be better supported to overcome the challenges associated with design-based problem solving, possibly via the inclusion of written, rather than verbal support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-262
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

Fingerprint

Students
engineering
classroom
discourse
science
student
pedagogical support
child psychology
engineer
Lenses
Mirrors
psychology
inclusion
uncertainty
Engineers
Values

Keywords

  • Discourse analysis
  • Elementary engineering
  • Engineering design

Cite this

@article{cb1c0cd463694a61899b9edf942063f5,
title = "Engineering design in the elementary science classroom: supporting student discourse during an engineering design challenge",
abstract = "This exploratory case study examines how various instructional strategies can influence elementary-aged student discourse patterns during an engineering design challenge. With engineering design increasingly entering the elementary science classroom both within the United States and internationally, students must now engage in discipline-specific practices intended to mirror the work of professional engineers. The current study analyzed classroom discourse over the length of an instructional unit using an analytical lens informed by Heath’s (in: Masten (ed) The Minnesota symposia on child psychology, Psychology Press, New York, pp. 59–75, 1999) concept of joint work, which revealed how three parallel and complimentary discourse practices emerged primarily and more readily once students were given access to the materials needed for their mining extraction tool. The study’s findings illustrate the importance of designing and implementing pedagogical supports capable of ensuring students understand how their drawn designs can be used (Henderson in Sci Technol Hum Values 16(4):448–473, 1991) to manage the uncertainty that naturally arises during an engineering design challenge. Furthermore, the results point to the need for further research at the classroom level that investigates how students can be better supported to overcome the challenges associated with design-based problem solving, possibly via the inclusion of written, rather than verbal support.",
keywords = "Discourse analysis, Elementary engineering, Engineering design",
author = "Justin McFadden and Roehrig, {Gillian H}",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1007/s10798-018-9444-5",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "29",
pages = "231--262",
journal = "International Journal of Technology and Design Education",
issn = "0957-7572",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Engineering design in the elementary science classroom

T2 - supporting student discourse during an engineering design challenge

AU - McFadden, Justin

AU - Roehrig, Gillian H

PY - 2019/3/15

Y1 - 2019/3/15

N2 - This exploratory case study examines how various instructional strategies can influence elementary-aged student discourse patterns during an engineering design challenge. With engineering design increasingly entering the elementary science classroom both within the United States and internationally, students must now engage in discipline-specific practices intended to mirror the work of professional engineers. The current study analyzed classroom discourse over the length of an instructional unit using an analytical lens informed by Heath’s (in: Masten (ed) The Minnesota symposia on child psychology, Psychology Press, New York, pp. 59–75, 1999) concept of joint work, which revealed how three parallel and complimentary discourse practices emerged primarily and more readily once students were given access to the materials needed for their mining extraction tool. The study’s findings illustrate the importance of designing and implementing pedagogical supports capable of ensuring students understand how their drawn designs can be used (Henderson in Sci Technol Hum Values 16(4):448–473, 1991) to manage the uncertainty that naturally arises during an engineering design challenge. Furthermore, the results point to the need for further research at the classroom level that investigates how students can be better supported to overcome the challenges associated with design-based problem solving, possibly via the inclusion of written, rather than verbal support.

AB - This exploratory case study examines how various instructional strategies can influence elementary-aged student discourse patterns during an engineering design challenge. With engineering design increasingly entering the elementary science classroom both within the United States and internationally, students must now engage in discipline-specific practices intended to mirror the work of professional engineers. The current study analyzed classroom discourse over the length of an instructional unit using an analytical lens informed by Heath’s (in: Masten (ed) The Minnesota symposia on child psychology, Psychology Press, New York, pp. 59–75, 1999) concept of joint work, which revealed how three parallel and complimentary discourse practices emerged primarily and more readily once students were given access to the materials needed for their mining extraction tool. The study’s findings illustrate the importance of designing and implementing pedagogical supports capable of ensuring students understand how their drawn designs can be used (Henderson in Sci Technol Hum Values 16(4):448–473, 1991) to manage the uncertainty that naturally arises during an engineering design challenge. Furthermore, the results point to the need for further research at the classroom level that investigates how students can be better supported to overcome the challenges associated with design-based problem solving, possibly via the inclusion of written, rather than verbal support.

KW - Discourse analysis

KW - Elementary engineering

KW - Engineering design

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85041925215&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85041925215&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10798-018-9444-5

DO - 10.1007/s10798-018-9444-5

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85041925215

VL - 29

SP - 231

EP - 262

JO - International Journal of Technology and Design Education

JF - International Journal of Technology and Design Education

SN - 0957-7572

IS - 2

ER -