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DAVID BURGHARDT

Hofstra University Center for STEM Research

Wise Guys & Gals--Boys & Girls as WISEngineering STEM Learners

NSF Awards: 1422436

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8

Wise Guys & Gals is an AISL NSF project that is engaging middle school age youth in informed engineering design activities that challenge them to be creative, think and test out different solutions, while allowing them to work together and share their work with peers, family, and others. WISEngineering is the blended learning platform that supports engaging engineering design activities that use easily accessible and inexpensive materials. Whether challenged to design a prosthetic leg using newspaper or a speaker using magnets; youth first learn about the task and develop needed knowledge and skills using a smart device with the WISEngineering program. They then build a physical model, but return to the virtual program to document their experiences through words, pictures and/or videos.

Research shows the WISEngineering approach not only leads to increased content knowledge, but also powerfully supports collaboration and social emotional learning as students work with peers and learn to consider different perspectives and ideas. In our video, we share examples (including artifacts) of the approach we have used with over a thousand youth. We also share some findings, including our successes implementing the activities in a wide range of Boys & Girls Club facilities with Facilitators who often have little STEM training.

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