Engineering Experiences

The Engineering Experiences project investigated a Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR) approach for involving low-income, diverse youth in innovative out-of-school time learning experiences that aimed to increase their interest, motivation, and persistence in STEM education and careers. This effort was a collaboration between the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the I Have a Dream Foundation Boulder County. Over the course of the performance period, approximately 380 low socioeconomic status and diverse youth (primarily Hispanic) participated in various program implementations.

The primary product from this effort is the Engineering Experiences Toolkit, which can be used by out-of-school time program providers targeting diverse middle school youth. This Toolkit contains:

  1. An out-of-school time curriculum that asks youth to investigate the following driving question over a 15-week period:  How can Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) be used to determine the damage caused by a natural disaster to a town?
  2. Flight Logs supporting youth journaling and reflection that have built-in prompts for utility value interventions asking youth to reflect on the personal relevance of various aspects of the program, formative feedback on program implementation, reflections on their use of science and engineering practices, and prompts for reflecting on engineering design processes.
  3. Media materials supporting out-of-school time facilitators to learn about and implement the Engineering Experiences curriculum, including a storyline diagram depicting the overall flow of the curriculum as it is driven forward by youth questions and ideas. 
  4. Facilitator materials (i.e., guides, video clips, and training materials) for using the curriculum with out-of-school time youth.
  5. Youth materials including blogs and videos on UAVs and documenting their experiences.
  6. A questioning guide for parents and caregivers on career and workforce issues.  
  7. A conjecture map depicting the underlying logic of the Engineering Experiences program including the theoretical underpinnings of key program elements.
  8. Peer-reviewed publications describing various program implementations as well as research outcomes.

Paper citations:

  • Bhaduri, S., Gendreau, A., Koushik, V. S., Sumner, T., Ristvey, J., & Russell, R. (n.d.). Promoting Middle School Students’ Motivation and Persistence in an After-School Engineering Program (J. Barnes-Johnson & J. M. Johnson, Eds.). In STEM21: Equity in teaching and learning to meet global challenges of standards, engagement and transformationDOI
  • Bhaduri, S., & Van Horne, K., & Ristvey, J. D., & Russell, R., & Sumner, T. (2018, June), From Toys to Tools: UAVs in Middle-school Engineering Education (RTP) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah. Link
  • Bhaduri, S., Horne, K. V., Ristvey, J., Russell, R. & Sumner, T. (2018). Learning Engineering Practices Through Drones: Iterative design of an informal learning curriculum. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS)Link

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