1. Kinnari Atit
  2. Postdoctoral Researcher
  4. Northwestern University
  1. Grace Ann Flanagan Hall
  2. Lab Manager and Research Assistant
  4. Northwestern University
  1. David Uttal
  2. http://groups.psych.northwestern.edu/uttal/
  3. Professor
  5. Northwestern University

The Design and Engineering of Scientific Instrumentation as a Method for Intr...

NSF Awards: 1623550

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) “represents a commitment to integrating engineering design into the structure of science education by raising engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry when teaching science disciplines at all levels (Achieve, 2013).” But for many teachers, thoughtfully integrating engineering design with science concepts is challenging. In this project, we are testing the feasibility of supporting high school students (and their teachers) in the design and development of their own scientific instruments using Arduino-compatible hardware and software. Particularly, we are investigating whether the design, basic programming of, and use of scientific instrumentation makes the learning of significant STEM content, practices, and epistemologies more authentic, engaging, and tangible for students. Furthermore, we are exploring how the engineering design process can best be structured and scaffolded to effectively support teachers in integrating electronic making and coding into their classrooms aligned with the engineering and science concepts called for by NGSS (Achieve, 2013). The potential impacts of this study include shifting the experience of school science labs from one that is largely a routinized procedure to a more authentic and engaging task, and one that more accurately reflects the complexity, creativity, and challenges of scientific and engineering endeavors. Additionally, by demonstrating and evaluating methods of using Arduinos in building scientific instruments, we seek to provide more generalizable guidance on how teachers can leverage digital making and coding activities to spark student creativity while engaging them in more authentic science and engineering practices within the classroom.

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