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Effect of a Hands-on Biomedical Engineering Outreach Project on Middle School Students’ Interest and Identity in Engineering: A Quantitative Study
AuthorGutual, Jamie W.
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It is imperative to increase the number of students entering the engineering pipeline. Students are losing interest in subjects that lead to the development of engineering identity, which is a contributing factor to pursuing an engineering degree in the future. In order to mitigate this problem, engineering outreach programs must implement evidence-based teaching practices that foster students’ interest and identity in engineering. Because engineering outreach programs have the ability to reach a broad number of K-12 students, they have the ability to affect many students’ interest in engineering. For this study, a lesson titled, Cool It! was developed to introduce students to biomedical engineering and the engineering design process (EDP). The lesson utilized a design-based approach and aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for middle school. The lesson proved to be an effective educational intervention. Middle school students’ interest in engineering increased as a result of the lesson, and differences in gendered beliefs related to factors of engineering interest and identity were mitigated. The results of this study can be adopted across different engineering outreach activities and programs to foster interest development and the development of an engineering identity in young students.
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