Science teachers have recently been challenged to add engineering design into their classrooms to comply with the addition of engineering practices in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Taking advantage of this opportunity to promote engineering, an initial prototype of an instructional framework has been designed and revised called Argument Driven Engineering (ADE) that embeds a student argumentation process with the engineering design process and integrates NGSS science and engineering practices with disciplinary core ideas. The ADE framework was modeled after the existing Argument Driven Inquiry (ADI) framework currently used by over 2300 science teachers. Four engineering design tasks (EDTs) have been developed and are currently being implemented with 300 eighth grade students in two public middle schools to engage students in engineering through a sequence of activities that will give them an opportunity to: (a) engage in engineering design that explicitly incorporates scientific core ideas and mathematical principles; (b) use evidence-based argumentation to propose and critique design solutions; and (c) participate in team and individual sense-making through discourse and writing.
This paper describes the eight-stage ADE instructional framework co-developed by science and engineering educators, engineering faculty and middle school teachers using a design research methodology. Based on current research about how students learn both science and engineering and strongly influenced by social constructivist theories of learning, this framework was designed to integrate science concepts into the engineering design process with a focus on argumentation. Intentionally designed to help students use and develop evidence-based argumentation skills and repeated exposure to driving scientific concepts, we hope to move K-12 engineering education from typical “tinkering” activities to more realistic engineering design while simultaneously focusing on group collaboration and individual communication and writing skills.
The four EDTs align with NGSS performance expectations integrating disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) with science and engineering practices. The four EDTs all follow the ADE framework and require students to collaboratively propose, support, build, critique, revise, and communicate solutions to engineering challenges that ask them to design 1) a passive vaccine storage device, 2) a hand warmer for the homeless, 3) a highway crash safety barrier and 4) a biodiversity monitoring device. With an emphasis on what we learned from the 2008 Changing the Conversation study, all four EDTs explicitly show how engineers change the world and make it a better place to help encourage future engineering interest and broaden participation. The passive vaccine storage device EDT was inspired by a recent Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Challenge that asked designers to help solve the vaccine cold chain problem by developing a vaccine cooling solution that could keep vaccines between zero and eight degrees Celsius for 30 to 60 days without reliable electricity. The eight-stages of the passive vaccine storage device EDT will be used to help illustrate how the ADE framework can be implemented in practice. Preliminary results using iterative qualitative content analysis of student artifacts (pictures of group argumentation white boards and individual final reports) from the first-year implementation of this EDT will be presented.
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