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Title: Developing habits of mind through family engineering at home.
Engineering in early education provides the foundation for the future of innovation. Reinforcing learning and engineering habits of mind (HoM) at an early age is crucial for expanding students’ higher order thinking, potential for lifelong learning, and sense of agency in their learning experiences. HoM is defined as a set of learned or internalized dispositions that inform an individual's behaviors when confronted with challenges. This study addressed two research questions: (1) Which HoM were articulated by children as they reflected upon their participation in a home-based engineering program? (2) What patterns of the children’s vocabulary align with the HoM framework? Observational methods were used to examine young children’s reflections upon the process of completing low-stakes engineering projects in their home. The participants were 23 children ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. After they engaged in the ill-structured engineering tasks with family members at home, children joined an online show-and-tell meeting to show their prototype to others while answering various questions about their processes, frustrations, and successes. Findings revealed “Resourcefulness,” “Adapting/Improving,” and “Systems Thinking” as the most common HoM expressed by children through the show-and-tell meetings. Additional analysis also highlighted how children's articulation of learning and engineering habits of mind were logical (i.e., analytical), confident (i.e., clout), and impersonal. Moreover, children’s words were product oriented, predominantly focusing on the materials and tools utilized to create their prototype. The significance of this study highlights how engaging in hands-on engineering projects in the home has the potential to develop children’s dispositions and ways of thinking common to engineers.  more » « less
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American Society for Engineering Education
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National Science Foundation
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