Female students’ interactions in a middle school engineering project : a case study

Hudson, Peter B., English, Lyn D., & Dawes, Les A. (2013) Female students’ interactions in a middle school engineering project : a case study. International Journal of Engineering Education, 29(4), pp. 814-821.

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Targeting females at high school or earlier may be a key towards engaging them in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This ethnographic study, part of a three-year longitudinal research project, investigated Year 8 female students’ learning about engineering concepts associated with designing, constructing, testing, and evaluating a catapult. There was a series of lead-up lessons and four lessons for the catapult challenge (total of 18 x 45-minute lessons) over a nine-week period. Data from two girls within a focus group showed that they needed to:

(1) receive clarification on engineering terms to facilitate more fluent discourse, (2) question and debate conceptual understandings without peers being judgemental, and (3) have multiple opportunities for engaging with materials towards designing, constructing and explaining key concepts learnt.

There are implications for teachers facilitating STEM education, such as: clarifying STEM terms, articulating how students can interact in non-judgmental ways, and providing multiple opportunities for interacting within engineering education.

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ID Code: 61693
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Middle schooling, Engineering education, Girls’ education, Science and mathematics
ISSN: 0949-149X
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
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 2013 TEMPUS Publications
Deposited On: 05 Aug 2013 23:38
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2014 17:57

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