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Title: Adding Local Cultural Relevance to Engineering Exploration Lessons for Middle School Students
Helping middle school students explore potential career opportunities based on local culture and values was the foundation of a study of rural Appalachian middle school students conducted at a major university in the United States. Specifically we focused on positively impacting locally and culturally-relevant conceptions of engineering through participation in multiple classroom activities developed through a partnership of teachers, researchers, and local industry partners. To date, the study has revealed a positive change in the understanding and conception of the field of engineering by students who participated in the culturally relevant classroom activities. As a basis for this work, ample literature was found to describe middle school students’ conceptions of engineering but there was limited available research on the value of relating the field of engineering to a student’s local culture. We are offering a resource exchange session to introduce the approach of designing and using classroom engineering exploration activities directly connected to the students’ local environment, featuring the types of engineering work performed in the area and local problems related to engineering. Effective practices for working with industry partners to help design and deliver the classroom activities will also be shared. An example of a classroom intervention will be more » featured where students explored potential and kinetic energy by designing and building mountain roads out of simple hardware store materials. This activity allowed students to make connections between the roads they built in the classroom and the geography of their local mountainous, rural area. Industry partners participated in this intervention by offering insights from their technical backgrounds and company practices and assisted with the hands-on lessons in the classroom. This was one of six culturally relevant engineering activities provided to 757 sixth-grade students at seven Appalachian middle schools. « less
Authors:
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Award ID(s):
1657263
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10250282
Journal Name:
ASEE Annual Conference
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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