Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 87–100

Engaging Inner City Students in Learning Through Designing Remote Operated Vehicles


DOI: 10.1007/s10956-005-2736-z

Cite this article as:
Barnett, M. J Sci Educ Technol (2005) 14: 87. doi:10.1007/s10956-005-2736-z


For the past year we have been developing and implementing a program in which students design and construct remote operated vehicles. In this paper, we report on a pilot study that occurred over the course of an academic year in an inner city high school. Specifically, we have been investigating whether students learn meaningful science content through design activities. Through our teaching experiment methodological stance and analysis we found that (1) student attendance and engagement increased, (2) students learned physics content and recognized connections to their other coursework (3) teachers adopted an “organized chaos” posture and shifted their role from one of discipline keeper and content gatekeeper to one of coach and facilitator, (4) design projects need to be modularized if they are to be effective urban classrooms, and (5) teachers need to balance the tradeoffs between allowing students to develop aesthetically pleasing designs versus learning content and creating designs that are functional and useable.


urban educationlearning by designingengineering educationengagement

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Teacher Education, and Special Education, Lynch School of EducationBoston College
  2. 2.Lynch School of EducationBoston College