This project was designed to address three major challenges faced by undergraduate engineering students (UES) and pre-service teachers (PSTs): 1) retention for UESs after the first year, and continued engagement when they reach more difficult concepts, 2) to prepare PSTs to teach engineering, which is a requirement in the Next Generation Science Standards as well as many state level standards of learning, and 3) to prepare both groups of students to communicate and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary context, which is a necessary skill in their future places of work. This project was implemented in three pairs of classes: 1) an introductory mechanical engineering class, fulfilling a general education requirement for information literacy and a foundations class in education, 2) fluid mechanics in mechanical engineering technology and a science methods class in education, and 3) mechanical engineering courses requiring programming (e.g., computational methods and robotics) with an educational technology class. All collaborations taught elementary level students (4th or 5th grade). For collaborations 1 and 2, the elementary students came to campus for a field trip where they toured engineering labs and participated in a one hour lesson taught by both the UESs and PSTs. In collaboration 3, the UESs and PSTs worked with the upper-elementary students in their school during an after school club. In collaborations 1 and 2, students were assigned to teams and worked remotely on some parts of the project. A collaboration tool, built in Google Sites and Google Drive, was used to facilitate the project completion. The collaboration tool includes a team repository for all the project documents and templates. Students in collaboration 3 worked together directly during class time on smaller assignments. In all three collaborations lesson plans were implemented using the BSCS 5E instructional model, which was aligned to the engineering design process. Instruments were developed to assess knowledge in collaborations 1 (engineering design process) and 3 (computational thinking), while in collaboration 2, knowledge was assessed with questions from the fundamentals of engineering exam and a science content assessment. Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness (CATME) was also used in all 3 collaborations to assess teamwork across the collaborations. Finally, each student wrote a reflection on their experiences, which was used to qualitatively assess the project impact. The results from the first full semester of implementation have led us to improvements in the implementation and instrument refinement for year 2.
The full paper will be available to logged in and registered conference attendees once the conference starts on
June 22, 2020, and to all visitors after the conference ends on June 26, 2021