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  1. Abstract This exploratory study compares how young people (ages 15–16) learn circuitry concepts and layout design principles important to electrical engineering using one of two educational circuitry toolkits: paper circuits and traditional solderless breadboards. Paper-based prototyping kits are representative of a trend that incorporates new materials and approaches to integrating arts into traditional STEM disciplines. Extending prior research on how non-traditional toolkits enhance learning of electrical engineering outcomes, including basic circuitry concepts (i.e., current flow, polarity, and connections), this study examines the material affordances and design choices of the kits that contribute to youth’s understanding of more advanced circuitry layout design principles, including space allocation, placement of electronic components, and routing. Results indicate that paper circuits better afford the learning of layout design principles for printed circuit boards (PCBs) with large effect sizes. This study illuminates how the materials of educational toolkits uniquely solicit body- and material-syntonic patterns of activity, and thus differentially engage learners’ powerful ideas around circuitry and design principles. This investigation encourages careful consideration of the material affordances of some toolkits over others for learning purposes. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Algorithm building, creating a step-by-step procedure to carry out a solution, is a challenging concept for youth to learn and practice. Kinetic sculpture is a novel context for examining how students may learn algorithms through designing and making. As part of a larger study, we collected and analyzed a total of 18 student pre- and post-tests on computational thinking, physical computing, and arts. To examine how students build algorithms in the process of designing and making a kinetic sculpture, we analyze two vignettes from two small groups in a STEAM-based workshop. Findings show that while designing and building kinetic sculpture, students learned computational thinking and applied algorithms by incorporating inputs, outputs, and variables during the process. This study offers a springboard to investigate how students create and apply algorithms in designing and making kinetic sculpture and provides empirical evidence on how students learn algorithms in a STEAM learning context. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 12, 2024
  3. In this conceptual paper, we present our work in progress towards the theorization and operationalization of an asset-based pedagogy for STEM + Arts content infused with the aesthetic and speculative fiction movement of Latinofuturism. As Latine scholars, we aim to contribute to the education field with an alternative approach to support the Latine population who is still disproportionately underrepresented in the STEM fields. Through our review of the literature and media, we use the theoretical framework of Community Cultural Wealth, specifically its six forms of capital, to examine Latinofuturism as a genre that can connect STEM + Arts themes with Latine culture through speculative practices. We propose that asset-based pedagogies situated in Latinofuturism aesthetics provide emancipatory opportunities for Latine to dream and think beyond the current barriers of access to STEM + Arts and create a new STEM culture for and with Latine. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 12, 2024
  4. One of the promises of STEAM-based education is to ameliorate existing gender disparities regarding access to STEM fields. We analyze youth making kinetic sculptures as a novel STEAM-based approach to infusing historically gendered practices into the study of robotics. We found the distribution of labor was based on gender normative practices. This study highlights how STEAM-based education requires an examination of our tools and materials and how they reinscribe existing practices along traditional gendered lines. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 12, 2024
  5. This study investigates connections between fabric crafts and the breadth and depth of mathematics involved in pursuing the crafts with a particular focus on quilting. The authors became participant observers in crafting circles, conducted 65 semi-structured interviews to investigate crafters’ mathematical insights in their projects, and analyzed artifacts through close manual examination and photographs to deepen these insights. We ask the questions: (1) How do crafters observe the interplay between mathematics and the process of a craft? (2) How can crafters’ products illuminate the breadth and depth of mathematics? The findings suggest that the different ways in which mathematics and craft intersect either bear the form of a craftforward approach, as crafters produce patterns and explore it through changes in the patterns or in the form of a math-forward approach, in which crafting directly draws on mathematical concepts guiding the work toward the improved performance or modeling of math concepts. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 12, 2024
  6. There is tremendous excitement around makerspaces for deepening and enriching curricula across subjects, as well as engaging traditionally marginalized learners in new ways. To address the lack of translation of maker education projects to mathematics learning, we propose that educators aspire to create a “Mathland” when designing maker educational activities. Mathlands are environments envisioned by Seymour Papert where mathematics are learned alongside ways of doing mathematics in self-selected contexts, leading to an epistemology and natural language of mathematics that pervades all experiences. To imagine a Mathland where women’s participation in mathematics is lifelong and lifewide, we explore traditionally female-dominated fiber crafts where long-term engagement, mathematics, and heritage intersect. As part of a longitudinal embedded multi-year ethnographic study, we conducted cohort analyses as well as grounded, iterative, and thematic coding of semi-structured interview data, augmented with crafting artifacts from 65 adult fiber crafters. Using qualitative analytical techniques, we asked: How does math occur in craft? How do crafters observe the intersection between math and craft in process? Fiber crafts were found to present a “Mathland,” a lifelong context for immersive math engagement. We present crafters’ math insights in the craft, as well as multiple aspects of the crafts and surrounding communities that supported the crafters in sustaining their engagement with mathematics throughout their lifetime. This study has implications for the design of inclusive and lifelong maker educational environments for mathematics learning. 
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  7. J. Oshima, T. Mochizuki (Ed.)
    Community-based arts organizations curate and build experiences rooted in local culture through culturally sustaining practices. Through analysis of interviews with leaders at community-based arts organizations, we found that each took a different route to supporting culturally sustaining arts practices, which enacted relational elements of connected learning environments. We describe three models of culturally sustaining arts approaches (i.e., heritage and history, intergenerational, and youth culture) and suggest that each supports relational elements of connected learning. 
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  8. Given the persistent issues of equity in technology-rich fields, this study argues that our choice of tools and materials significantly impacts both what is possible to be learned as well as who participates. This study examined students’ learning of basic circuitry concepts through the use of paper circuitry toolkits in art-based activities. The data was collected in a 4-day workshop for middle school students (N=17). Findings showed that arts integration promoted the creation of paper circuits that leads to artistic exploration into STEM engagement. Pre- and post-tests results showed improvement for students by gender. Although the boys outperformed the girls on paper circuits, the girls outperformed the boys on e-textiles which is considered more “feminine” than others. The findings imply the nuances between material property and gendered practice to understand how we can better design tools and materials to rupture stagnant norms around educational practices. 
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  9. Murphy, B. (Ed.)
    A key form of scientific literacy is being able to leverage the knowledge, practices, and commitments of ethical science to everyday civic matters of social consequence. Learning how to engage in civic life in equity-focused ways needs to be intertwined with learning disciplinary—or transdisciplinary—knowledge and practices. In this article we discuss how an art-science learning program at Science Gallery Dublin in Ireland supported subsequent civic participation by adolescent youth. Using longitudinal case studies of young people, we document how they became agents of change in their homes, schools, and wider communities over several years after participating in the program. This work provides insight into how specific design features of informal learning environments help launch or expand the science-linked identities of youth interested in participation in civic life and social action. These cases also illustrate how to develop educational models that support young people to take informed action toward matters of community and environmental consequence, a key aspect of building a more sustainable and thriving future. 
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