Engineering design processes in seventh-grade classrooms: bridging the engineering education gap

English, Lyn D., Hudson, Peter B., & Dawes, Les A. (2012) Engineering design processes in seventh-grade classrooms: bridging the engineering education gap. European Journal of Engineering Education, 37(5), pp. 436-447.

View at publisher


This paper reports on some findings from the first year of a three-year longitudinal study, in which seventh to ninth-graders were introduced to engineering education. Specifically, the paper addresses students’ responses to an initial design activity involving bridge construction, which was implemented at the end of seventh grade. This paper also addresses how students created their bridge designs and applied these in their bridge constructions; their reflections on their designs; their reflections on why the bridge failed to support increased weights during the testing process; and their suggestions on ways in which they would improve their bridge designs. The present findings include identification of six, increasingly sophisticated levels of illustrated bridge designs, with designs improving between the classroom and homework activities of two focus groups of students. Students’ responses to the classroom activity revealed a number of iterative design processes, where the problem goals, including constraints, served as monitoring factors for students’ generation of ideas, design thinking and construction of an effective bridge.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

62 since deposited on 14 Dec 2012
18 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 55618
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: engineering design processes, bridge construction, middle school, mathematics and science education
DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2012.708721
ISSN: 0304-3797
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright Taylor & Francis 2012
Deposited On: 14 Dec 2012 02:36
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2014 17:15

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page