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Title page for ETD etd-07312014-212059

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Rouse, Robert James
Author's Email Address rob.rouse@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07312014-212059
Title Investigating how K-12 students engage in engineering practices
Degree PhD
Department Learning, Teaching and Diversity
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Richard Lehrer Committee Chair
Barbara Stengel Committee Member
Donald L. Compton Committee Member
Leona Schauble Committee Member
  • design-based science
  • Engineering design
  • practices
Date of Defense 2014-07-28
Availability unrestricted
Recently, the field of science education has advocated for systematic explorations of the affordances of an integrated STEM education. Accordingly, in this three-paper dissertation I investigate how students build conceptual knowledge in science by participating in engineering practices, such as design, and how students develop aesthetics about these practices. The first paper, a review of the literature on K-12 design-based science, documents that although design-based science learning environments engage students in activities that support the development of important scientific ideas, there are often significant and substantial differences in engineering and scientific practices that are not experienced by students in these environments. Papers two and three are empirical investigations of a class of seventh grade paper engineers engaged in the design of pop-up books. The second paper characterizes the cognitive and social resources students drew upon to design pop-ups. It also illustrates how students’ collective participation in practices of reverse engineering and troubleshooting supported reasoning about the structure and function of these pop-up (i.e., four-bar linkage) systems. The third paper extends the second paper by: (a) illustrating the affordances of pop-up design as a medium for self-expression and (b) documenting what individual students understood about pop-up structure and function as they engaged in the collective practice of troubleshooting. The set of papers provides a foundation for understanding how to structure interdisciplinary learning environments in which participation in engineering practices is a medium for self-expression and learning about how systems function.
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