2953 Views
  1. Kinnari Atit
  2. Postdoctoral Researcher
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Northwestern University
  1. Grace Ann Flanagan Hall
  2. Lab Manager and Research Assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Northwestern University
  1. David Uttal
  2. http://groups.psych.northwestern.edu/uttal/
  3. Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  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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Original Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Kinnari Atit

    Kinnari Atit

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    May 14, 2017 | 10:35 p.m.

    Thank you everyone for visiting our video! We are excited to hear your ideas and your feedback, especially on putting micro controllers and coding in classrooms with students of all different abilities. Looking forward to a good week of discussion! 

  • Icon for: Grace Ann Flanagan Hall

    Grace Ann Flanagan Hall

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 10:59 a.m.

    Hi everyone! Thank you again for watching our video.  

     

    I just wanted to direct those who are interested to our lab page which is currently being updated: https://uttallabs.northwestern.edu  

  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 12:02 p.m.

    Hello Kinnari and visitors! Hope you enjoy the video about this informal learning framework for integrating engineering design principals in schools with digital making and coding activities. Above, Kinnari focuses our discussion on putting micro controllers and coding in classrooms with students of all different abilities. I agree that’s the productive place to focus our brief exchange. What challenges emerge where you are and what solutions are you starting to see locally with growing digital making and coding activities for elementary and secondary level students?

  • Icon for: Roger Tobin

    Roger Tobin

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2017 | 01:21 p.m.

    Thanks for your interesting project and video. Can you give an example of a science question that the students are seeking to address through the use of their instruments?

  • Icon for: Kinnari Atit

    Kinnari Atit

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    May 15, 2017 | 06:03 p.m.

    We are currently in the process of actually ironing that out. We have just purchased a number of different sensors that can be used with the robots (e.g., temperature sensor, sound sensor), and this summer, our plan is to run a two week internship that focuses on detailing the experiments students can carry out using these tools. One idea includes using the motion sensor to collect data that the students will then use to calculate acceleration. 

     

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 04:21 p.m.

    What an intriguing project you describe! What were some of the initial challenges you faced as you started this project?  Did the teachers feel excited, intimidated, reluctant?  What strategies did you use to break through barriers, if there were any?  I very much enjoyed the student's description of his project--he seems comfortable with the both the engineering components and the physics questions he can pose and answer with his device.  I, too, would like to know more about those "questions."  Do the students come up with the questions, or are the questions from the teacher, and the students look for ways to generate evidence for answers?

  • Icon for: Kinnari Atit

    Kinnari Atit

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    May 15, 2017 | 06:08 p.m.

    Finding a way to implement Arduinos into a setting with students of different levels of prior experience with coding was one of the biggest challenges that we have faced. We settled on using the robots made my Makeblock because of the scaffolds they provide on the Arduino and on coding. It makes it more accessible for a variety of students. All the data we have collected so far has been in an after school program environment. We hope to iron out some experiments we can run with these tools this summer and implement the experiments in physics classrooms this fall. We have a high school physics teacher who is working with us and some students to help design the science experiments using the robots and the arduinos. 

  • Icon for: Nancy Shapiro

    Nancy Shapiro

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 08:44 a.m.

    Thanks, Kinnari.  I'm curious--do you have an advisory board or council of external advisors for your project?  If so, are they engaged/active in helping you think about scaling this project?  After school is a great place to pilot--you get "low hanging fruit"--kids who are already interested and intrigued.  I'll be curious to hear how a wider implementation works in the schools.  Is your physics teacher a teacher leader?  will s/he be able to bring the project into her/his classes?

  • Icon for: Grace Ann Flanagan Hall

    Grace Ann Flanagan Hall

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 11:04 a.m.

    Hi Nancy. I'm just going to jump in here. We currently are working very closely with our physics teacher and this summer our focus is to work on developing a curriculum or lesson plan using these Arduinos which can be implemented in multiple classrooms this fall.

  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 02:01 p.m.

    This is an interesting robotic program using some nicely scaffolded tools from Makeblock. I wonder how this project complements the robotics curriculum in the Exploring Computer Science curriculum and adds to our existing understanding of using robotics for learning. In my own work, I've integrated e-textiles (using the LilyPad Arduino) in high school classrooms and am interested to hear your insights about potential PD models you're thinking through with these Makeblock tools. I think it's also great that the team is aiming to address the "fluency gap" in under-resourced populations and am curious how this goal will be carried out. These technologies are expensive and can be inhibitive -- what solutions have you explored? Visitors, what ideas do you have about PD and/or implementation in your context. 

  • Icon for: Kinnari Atit

    Kinnari Atit

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    May 16, 2017 | 06:16 p.m.

    I have never used the LilyPad Arduino before. I am curious to hear about how that works with your high school students. 

    When it comes to Professional Development tools, we hope to provide teachers with a lesson plan for science experiments the students could conduct using these robots and provide some training prior to implementation on using the robots themselves. We have a teacher on the team right now whose role is to help us understand what kind of resources teachers may need to be able to successfully implement these in the classroom. So I hope to have a clearer picture on what PD would look like sometime this summer. 

    We hope to address the "fluency gap" by implementing the robots high school physics classes at a diverse high school. We hope that by integrating them into a class that is required for all students, high school physics, we will reach a broad number of students from different backgrounds and with different levels of experience and skills. 

    We agree that the high cost of the robot is a limitation. But, we hope that by having the students work in groups, we can help minimize the cost. Also, if this study is successful and is expanded to multiple schools in the future, approaching make block and other arduino robot companies about buying these robots in bulk, or getting an education discount is something we would definitely look into. 

  • Icon for: Tamara Moore

    Tamara Moore

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2017 | 10:41 a.m.

    Hi Kinnari-

    I am really happy to see more research at the high school level in science classrooms. I have been working at the K-8 level, but the high school has been a fairly tough nut to crack!  Congrats on your work here.

    Tamara

  • Icon for: Kinnari Atit

    Kinnari Atit

    Lead Presenter
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    May 18, 2017 | 12:43 p.m.

    Thank you so much Tamara! 

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