Advertisement

Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 187–198 | Cite as

Pre-engineering Thinking and the Engineering Habits of Mind in Preschool Classroom

  • Christine. N. LippardEmail author
  • Monica H. Lamm
  • Kristina M. Tank
  • Ji Young Choi
Article
  • 389 Downloads

Abstract

Young children engage in pre-engineering thinking and play in their day-to-day activities. However, early childhood teachers often miss opportunities to facilitate and extend this type of play. In order to support teachers in this undertaking, the current study aimed to answer the question: What does pre-engineering thinking look like in preschool? Nine preschool classrooms were observed, and mixed-methods, multiple case study analyses were conducted with classroom observation data as well as teacher-reported data. Our findings indicate that children engage in engineering habits of mind throughout the classroom, children’s access to materials and time to generate their own problems of interest are crucial, and teachers were often uninvolved when children demonstrated engineering habits of mind. Notably, teachers with > 5 years of teaching experience and lower teaching efficacy related to behavior management and engaging children in learning activities had classrooms with zero or few occurrences of engineering habits of mind. These results suggest that teachers may need support in engaging children in learning activities and managing classroom discipline before they undertake engineering-specific professional development. Topics to address in continuing professional development should focus on classroom environments, materials, and interactions that encourage children in generating and solving problems of their own interest as a way to facilitate pre-engineering thinking.

Keywords

Pre-engineering thinking Engineering habits of mind Preschool 

Notes

Funding

Funding was provided by Iowa State University (US) College of Human Sciences and Iowa State University College of Engineering.

References

  1. Adams, R., Evangelou, D., English, L., De Figueiredo, A. D., Mousoulides, N., Parley, A. L., et al. (2013). Multiple perspectives on engaging future engineers. Journal of Engineering Education, 100, 48–88.  https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2168-9830.2011.tb00004.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Azmitia, M. (1988). Peer interaction and problem solving: When are two heads better than one? Child Development, 59, 87–96.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.ep10514042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bagiati, A., & Evangelou, D. (2011). Starting young: Learning outcomes of a developmentally appropriate PreK engineering curriculum. In Proceedings of the research in engineering education symposium. Madrid: Universidad Politecnica de Madres. http://rees2009.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/63149087/REES%202011%20proceedings.pdf.
  4. Bagiati, A., & Evangelou, D. (2015). Engineering curriculum in the preschool classroom: The teacher’s experience. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 23, 112–128.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2014.991099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bagiati, A., Evangelou, D., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2011). Exposure to early engineering: A parental perspective. In Proceedings of the American society for engineering education annual conference & exposition. Vancouver, BC: ASEE. https://peer.asee.org/exposure-to-early-engineering-a-parental-perspective.
  6. Bairaktarova, D., Evangelou, D., Bagiati, A., & Dobbs-Oates, J. (2012). The role of classroom artifacts in developmental engineering. In Proceedings of the American society for engineering education annual conference. San Antonio, TX: ASEE. https://peer.asee.org/the-role-of-classroom-artifacts-in-developmental-engineering.
  7. Benjamin, N., Haden, C. A., & Wilkerson, E. (2010). Enhancing building, conversation, and learning through caregiver-child interactions in a children’s museum. Developmental Psychology, 46(2), 502–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bers, M. (2007). Project interActions: A multigenerational robotic learning environment. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 16(6), 537–552.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-007-9074-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bers, M. U., Seddighin, S., & Sullivan, A. (2013). Ready for robotics: Bringing together the T and E of STEM in early childhood teacher education. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 21(3), 355–377. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/41987/.
  10. Bonawitz, E., Shafto, P., Gweon, H., Goodman, N. D., Spelke, E., & Schulz, L. (2011). The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery. Cognition, 120, 322–330.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2010.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brophy, S. P., & Evangelou, D. (2007). Precursors to engineering thinking (PET). In Proceedings of the annual conference of the American society of engineering education. Washington, DC: ASEE. https://peer.asee.org/3011.
  12. Cardella, M. E., Svarovsky, G. N., & Dorie, B. L. (2013). Gender research on adult-child discussions within informal engineering environments (GRADIENT) early findings. In Proceedings of the annual conference of the American society of engineering education. Atlanta, GA: ASEE. https://peer.asee.org/19649.
  13. Copple, C., & Brendekamp, S. (Eds.) (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving birth through age 8 (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.Google Scholar
  14. Crismond, D. (2001). Learning and using science ideas when doing investigate-and-redesign tasks: A study of naive, novice, and expert designers doing constrained and scaffolded design work. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 791–820.  https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.1032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cunningham, C. M., & Hester, K. (2007). Engineering is elementary: An engineering and technology curriculum for children. In Proceedings of the American society for engineering education annual conference. Honolulu, HI.Google Scholar
  16. Dorie, B. L., Cardella, M. E., & Svarovsky, G. N. (2014). Capturing the design thinking of young children interacting with a parent. In Proceedings of the annual conference of the American society of engineering education. Washington, DC: ASEE.Google Scholar
  17. Dorie, B. L., Cardella, M. E., & Svarovsky, G. N. (2015). Engineering together: Context in dyadic talk during an engineering task. In Proceedings of the annual conference of the American society of engineering education. Seattle, WA: ASEE. https://peer.asee.org/20147.
  18. Early Childhood Iowa. (2012). Iowa early learning standards. Retrieved from https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/early-childhood/2014/10/iowa-early-learning-standards-2012.
  19. Ehri, L. C. (2005). Learning to read words: Theory, findings, and issues. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9, 167–188.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532799xssr0902_4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. English, L. D. (2016). STEM education K-12: Perspectives on integration. International Journal of STEM Education, 3(1), 3.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-016-0036-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Evangelou, D., Dobbs-Oates, J., Bagiati, A., Liang, S., & Choi, J. Y. (2010). Talking about artifacts: Preschool children’s explorations with sketches, stories, and tangible objects. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 12. Retrieved from http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v12n2/bagiati.html.
  22. Ferrara, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N. S., Golinkoff, R. M., & Lam, W. S. (2011). Block talk: Spatial language during block play. Mind, Brain, and Education, 5, 143–151.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-228X.2011.01122.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Flannery, L. P., & Bers, M. U. (2013). Let’s dance the “robot hokey-pokey!”: Children’s programming approaches and achievement throughout early cognitive development. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(1), 81–101.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2013.10782614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fleer, M. (2000). Working technologically: Investigations into how young children design and make during technology education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 10, 43–59.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.043.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gold, Z. S., Elicker, J., Choi, J. Y., Anderson, T., & Brophy, S. P. (2015). Preschoolers’ engineering play behaviors: Differences in gender and play context. Children, Youth, and Environments, 25, 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.25.3.0001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenfield, D. B., Jirout, J., Dominguez, X., Greenberg, A., Maier, M., & Fuccillo, J. (2009). Science in the preschool classroom: A programatic research agenda to improve science readiness. Early Education and Development, 20, 238–264.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10409280802595441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haden, C. A., Jant, E. A., Hoffman, P. C., Marcus, M., Geddes, J. R., & Gaskins, S. (2014). Supporting family conversations and children’s STEM learning in a children’s museum. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29, 333–344.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2014.04.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harms, T., Clifford, R. M., & Cryer, D. (2015). Early childhood environment rating scale (third edition). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  29. Katehi, L., Pearson, G., & Feder, M. (2009). The status and nature of K-12 engineering education in the United States. The Bridge, 39, 5–10. Retrieved from https://www.nae.edu/Publications/Bridge/16145/16161.aspx.
  30. Kazakoff, E., Sullivan, A., & Bers, M. (2012). The effect of a classroom-based intensive robotics and programming workshop on sequencing ability in early childhood. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41, 245–255.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-012-0554-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Keren, G., Ben-David, A., & Fridin, M. (2012). Kindergarten assistive robotics (KAR) as a tool for spatial cognition in pre-school education. Paper presented at the international conference on intelligent robots and systems. IEEE: Vilamoura.  https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS.2012.6385645.
  32. Keren, G., & Fridin, M. (2014). Kindergarten social assistive robot (KindSAR) for children’s geometric thinking and metacognitive development in preschool education: A pilot study. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 400–412.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lippard, C. N., Lamm, M. H. & Riley, K. L. (2017). Engineering thinking in prekindergarten children: A systematic literature review. Journal of Engineering Education, 106, 454–474.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jee.20172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Loveland, T., & Dunn, D. (2014). Engineering Habits of Mind in Technology Education. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  35. Lucas, C. G., Bridgers, S., Griffiths, T. L., & Gopnik, A. (2014). When children are better (or at least more open-minded) learners than adults: Developmental differences in learning the forms of causal relationships. Cognition, 131, 284–299.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2013.12.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Marginson, S., Tytler, R., Freeman, B., & Roberts, K. (2013). STEM: Country comparisons. Melbourne: Australian Council of Learned Academies.Google Scholar
  37. Mashburn, A. J., Pianta, R. C., Hamre, B. K., Downer, J. T., Barbarin, O. A., Bryant, D., et al. (2008). Measures of classroom quality in prekindergarten and children’s development of academic, language, and social skills. Child Development, 79, 732–749.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01154.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McCabe, M. P. (1991). Influence of creativity and intelligence on academic performance. Journal of Creative Behavior, 25, 116–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McDonald, S., & Howell, J. (2012). Watching, creating, and achieving: Creative technologies as a conduit for learning in the early years. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43, 641–651.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01231.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., & Maczuga, S. (2016). Science achievement gaps begin very early, persist, and are largely explained by modifiable factors. Educational Research, 45, 18–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moser, A., Zimmermann, L., Dickerson, K., Grenell, A., Barr, R., & Gerhardstein, P. (2015). They can interact, but can they learn? Toddlers’ transfer learning from touchscreens and television. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 137, 137–155.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2015.04.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council (NAE and NRC). (2009). Engineering in K-12 education: Understanding the status and improving the prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  43. National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  44. National Research Council. (2014). STEM integration in K-12 education: Status, prospects, and an agenda for research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  45. Nelson, D. G. K., O’Neil, K. A., & Asher, Y. M. (2008). A mutually facilitative relationship between learning names and learning concepts in preschool children: The case of artifacts. Journal of Cognition and Development, 9, 171–193.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15248370802022621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  47. North Carolina Foundations Task Force. (2013). North Carolina foundations for early learning and development. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Foundations Task Force.Google Scholar
  48. Pawlina, S., & Stanford, C. (2011). Preschoolers grow their brains: Shifting mindsets for greater resiliency and better problem solving. Young Children, 66(5), 30–35.Google Scholar
  49. Pellegrino, J. W., & Goldman, S. R. (1987). Information processing and elementary mathematics. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 20, 23–32.  https://doi.org/10.1177/002221948702000105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). (2010). Prepare and inspire: K-12 education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for America’s future. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-stem-ed-final.pdf.
  51. Robinson, J. P., & Lubienski, S. T. (2011). The development of gender achievement gaps in mathematics and reading during elementary and middle school: Examining direct cognitive assessments and teacher ratings. American Educational Research Journal, 48, 268–302.  https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831210372249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service. (2010). Toward the identification of features of effective professional development for early childhood educattors, literature review. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
  53. Verdine, B. N., Golinkoff, R. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N. S., Filipowicz, A. T., & Chang, A. (2014). Deconstructing building blocks: Preschoolers’ spatial assembly performance relates to early mathematical skills. Child Development, 85, 1062–1076.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wolfgang, C. H., Stannard, L. L., & Jones, I. (2001). Block play performance among preschoolers as a predictor of later school achievement in mathematics. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 15, 173–180.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02568540109594958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yin, R. K. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  56. Yoon, S. Y., Evans, M. G., & Strobel, J. (2014). Validation of the Teaching Engineering Self-Efficacy Scale for K-12 teachers: A structural equation modeling approach. Journal of Engineering Education, 103, 463–485.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jee.2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Chemical and Biological EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

Personalised recommendations