Skip to main content

The Effect of STEM Applications in Preschool on Students' Carrier Goals and Perceptions of Engineering

Abstract

STEM education, which consists of the initials of the words Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is an educational approach that blends theoretical knowledge with engineering skills. The STEM education approach is implemented in the USA from preschool to senior high school through engineering design and interdisciplinary studies within the framework of the Next Generation Science Standards. The aim of this research is to determine the effect of STEM applications in preschool education on students' career goals and engineering perceptions. The case study, one of the qualitative research models, was used as the research model. The research was carried out for 12 h in 8 weeks with the participation of a total of 20 students, nine boys and 11 girls, in the preschool age group of five. Career Goal Setting Form was used as a data collection tool. As a result, it has been concluded that STEM applications in preschool education are effective on students' career planning. STEM applications have increased students' interest in STEM fields. STEM applications have given students new knowledge about the engineering profession and skills. STEM applications have been effective on students' product design/invention goal process.

Résumé

L'enseignement STEM, qui se compose des initiales des mots Science, Technologie, Ingénierie et Mathématiques, est une approche pédagogique qui allie connaissances théoriques et compétences en ingénierie. L'approche éducative STEM est mise en oeuvre aux États-Unis de la maternelle au lycée en passant par la conception technique et les études interdisciplinaires dans le cadre des normes scientifiques de la prochaine génération. Le but de cette recherche est de déterminer l'effet des applications STEM dans l'éducation préscolaire sur les objectifs de carrière des élèves et les perceptions de l'ingénierie. L'étude de cas, l'un des modèles de recherche qualitative, a été utilisée comme modèle de recherche. La recherche a été menée pendant 12 heures en huit semaines avec la participation d'un total de 20 élèves, neuf garçons et 11 filles, dans le groupe d'âge préscolaire de cinq ans. Le formulaire d'établissement d'objectifs de carrière a été utilisé comme outil de collecte de données. En conséquence, il a été conclu que les applications STEM dans l'éducation préscolaire sont efficaces pour la planification de carrière des élèves. Les applications STEM ont accru l'intérêt des étudiants pour les domaines STEM. Les applications STEM ont donné aux étudiants de nouvelles connaissances sur la profession et les compétences de l'ingénieur. Les applications STEM ont été efficaces sur le processus d'objectif de conception de produit/d'invention des étudiants.

Resumen

La educación STEM, que consiste en las iniciales de las palabras Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas, es un enfoque educativo que combina el conocimiento teórico con las habilidades de ingeniería. El enfoque de educación STEM se implementa en los Estados Unidos desde preescolar hasta la escuela secundaria superior a través del diseño de ingeniería y estudios interdisciplinarios en el marco de los Estándares de Ciencia de próxima generación. El objetivo de esta investigación es determinar el efecto de las aplicaciones STEM en la educación preescolar en los objetivos profesionales de los estudiantes y las percepciones de ingeniería. El estudio de caso, uno de los modelos de investigación cualitativa, se utilizó como modelo de investigación. La investigación se llevó a cabo durante 12 horas en ocho semanas con la participación de un total de 20 estudiantes, nueve niños y 11 niñas, en el grupo de edad preescolar de cinco. Se utilizó el Formulario de Establecimiento de Metas Profesionales como herramienta de recopilación de datos. Como resultado, se ha concluido que las aplicaciones STEM en la educación preescolar son efectivas en la planificación de la carrera de los estudiantes. Las aplicaciones STEM han aumentado el interés de los estudiantes en los campos STEM. Las aplicaciones STEM han dado a los estudiantes nuevos conocimientos sobre la profesión y las habilidades de ingeniería. Las aplicaciones STEM han sido efectivas en el proceso de diseño de productos / objetivos de invención de los estudiantes.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Abanoz, T., & Deniz, U. (2019). STEM yaklasimina uygun fen etkinliklerinin okul oncesi donem cocuklarinin bilimsel surec becerilerine etkisinin incelenmesi. Turkish Studies Educational Sciences, 14(6), 2787–2802. https://doi.org/10.29228/TurkishStudies.38820

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Akgunduz, D. (2016). A research about the placement of the top thousand students in STEM fields in Turkey between 2000 and 2004. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 12(5), 1365–1377.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Akgunduz, D. (Ed). (2019). STEM education in theory and application from preschool to university (2nd ed.). Ani Yayincilik.

  • Akgunduz, D., & Akpinar, B. C. (2018). Evaluation of STEM applications based on science education in pre-school education in terms of students, teachers and parents. Education for Life, 32(1), 1–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Akgunduz, D., & Akpinar, B. C. (2019). STEM education applications in preschool education. In D. Akgunduz (Ed.), STEM Education in theory and application from preschool to university (2nd ed). Ani Yayincilik.

  • Ata Akturk, A., Demircan, H. O., Senyurt, E., & Cetin, M. (2017). Turkish early childhood education curriculum from the perspective of STEM education: A document analysis. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 14(4), 16–34.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ata-Akturk, A., & Demircan, H. O. (2021). Supporting preschool children’s STEM learning with parent-involved early engineering education. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49, 607–621. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01100-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bagiati, A., & Evangelou, D. (2015). Engineering curriculum in the preschool classroom: The teacher’s experience. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 23(1), 112–128.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing interaction: Introduction to sequential analysis (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

  • Berg, B. L. & Lune, H. (2015). Sosyal bilimlerde nitel arastirma yontemleri, (Cev Aydin H.) Egitim Yayinevi.

  • Bravo, E., Costillo, E., Bravo, J. L., Mellado, V., & Conde, M. D. C. (2022). Analysis of prospective early childhood education teachers’ proposals of nature field trips: An educational experience to bring nature close during this stage. Science Education, 106, 172–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C., Howitt, C., & McDonald, A. (2018). STEM practice in the early years. Creative Education, 9, 11–25. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2018.91002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cinar, S. (2019). Integration of engineering design in early education: How to achieve it. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 14(4), 520–534.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2016). Math, science, and technology in the early grades. The Future of Children, 26(2), 76–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Creswell, J. W. (2016). Arastirma deseni nitel, nicel ve karma yontem yaklasimlari, (Cev. Demir S. B.), Egiten Kitap.

  • Cruz-Guzmán, M., García-Carmona, A., & Criado, A. M. (2017). Aprendiendo sobre los cambios de estado en educación infantil mediante secuencias de pregunta–predicción– comprobación experimental. Enseñanza De Las Ciencias, 35(3), 175–193.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dejonckheere, P. J. N., Wit, N. D., Keere, K. V., & Vervaet, S. (2016). Exploring the classroom: Teaching science in early childhood. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 8(4), 537–558.

    Google Scholar 

  • Durbin, D. J., Pickett, L. H., & Powell, T. L. (2011). Kindergarten scientists: The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Science activities: Classroom Project sand curriculum ideas. Science Activities, 48(4), 129–136.

    Google Scholar 

  • Durkin, A. (2018). Can providing young children with opportunities to participate in STEM activities encourage cooperative learning? (Master’s thesis). Available from ProQuest Dissertation and Thesis Database. (Order no: 13424228).

  • EFK, (2020). Engineering for kids of Central Virginia. Retrieved from https://www.efk.com.my/

  • EIE. (2020). Engineering is elementary. Retrieved from https://eie.org/.

  • Fusarro, M., & Smith, M. C. (2018). Preschoolers’ inquisitiveness and science-relevant problem solving. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 42, 119–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2017.09.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gervasoni, A., Lowrie, T., Logan, T., Larkin, K., Bateup, C., & Kinny-Lewis, C. (2017). STEM Practices: A Reconceptualization of STEM in the Early Years. Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) (40th. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2017).

  • Gutiérrez, M. P., López-Lozano, L., & Rodríguez, R. G. (2020). (n.d.). Experimentando con los sentidos: Un rincón de ciencias en Educación Infantil. Didáctica De Las Ciencias Experimentales y Sociales, 39, 117–134. https://doi.org/10.7203/DCES.39.16893

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hamel, E., Joo, Y., Hong, S. Y., & Burton, A. (2021). Teacher questioning practices in early childhood science activities. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49(3), 375–384.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • He, X., Li, T., Turel, O., Kuang, Y., Zhao, H., & He, Q. (2021). The impact of STEM education on mathematical development in children aged 5–6 years. International Journal of Educational Research, 109, 101795.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hidayat, D. R., & Ningrum, W. (2016). Career guidance at kindergarten, Is it neccessary? In 3rd international conference on early childhood education (ICECE 2016) (pp. 121–125). Atlantis Press.

  • HowtoSTEM. (2018). STEM education around the world. Retrieved from http://HowtoSTEM.Co.Uk/Blog/STEM-Education-Around-World/

  • https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/The-Early-Years-Career-Development-for-Young-Children-Educators-Guide-October-2017.pdf

  • Kearney, C. (2016). Efforts to increase students’ interest in pursuing mathematics, science and technology studies and careers. national measures taken by 30 countries – 2015 Report, European Schoolnet, Brussels.

  • Lamb, R., Akmal, T., & Petriei, K. (2015). Development of a cognition priming model of STEM learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 52(3), 410–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, H. C. (2012). What do you want to do when you grow up? Occupational aspirations of Taiwanese preschool children. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 40(1), 115–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lippard, C., Lamm, M. H., Tank, K. M., & Choi, J. Y. (2019). Pre-engineering thinking and the engineering habits of mind in preschool classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 47(2), 187–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Malone, K. M., Tiarani, V., Irving, K. E., Kajfez, R., Lin, H., Giasi, T., & Edmiston, B. W. (2018). Engineering design challenges in early childhood education: Effects on student cognition and interest. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(3), 11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McClure, E. R., Guernsey, L., Clements, D. H., Bales, S. N., Nichols, J., Kendall-Taylor, N., & Levine, M. H. (2017). STEM starts early. The Education Digest, 83(4), 43–51.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: A sourcebook. Sage Publications.

  • National Research Council (NRC). (2011). Successful K-12 STEM education: Identifying effective approaches in science, technology, engineering mathematics. National Academies Press.

  • National Research Council (NRC). (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts core ideas. National Academies Press.

  • NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Retrieved from https://www.nextgenscience.org/standards/standards

  • Ong, E. T., Ayob, A., Ibrahim, M. N., Adnan, M., Shariff, J., & Ishak, N. (2016). The effectiveness of an in-service training of early childhood teachers on STEM integration through Project-Based Inquiry Learning (PIL). Journal of Turkish Science Education (TUSED), 13(Special Issue), 44–58.

  • P21- A Network of Battelle for Kids. (2019). 21st century skills early learning framework. Retrieved from https://static.battelleforkids.org/documents/p21/P21_Framework_DefinitionsBFK.pdf

  • Pantoya, M. L., Aguirre-Munoz, Z., & Hunt, E. M. (2015). Developing an engineering identity in early childhood. American Journal of Engineering Education, 6(2), 61–68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Park, D. Y., Park, M. H., & Bates, A. B. (2018). Exploring young children’s understanding about the concept of volume through engineering design in a STEM activity: A case study. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 16(2), 275–294.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pattison, S., Weiss, S., Ramos-Montañez, S., Gontan, I., Svarovsky, G., Corrie, P. G., & Smith, C. (2018). Engineering in early childhood: describing family-level interest development systems. National Association for Research in Science Teaching Annual Conference March 2018.

  • Pawilen, G. T., & Yuzon, M. R. A. (2019). Planning a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Curriculum for Young Children: A Collaborative Project for Pre-service Teacher Education. International Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 11(2), 130–146.

    Google Scholar 

  • Quigley, C. F., & Herro, D. (2016). “Finding the joy in the unknown”: Implementation of STEAM teaching practices in middle school science and math classrooms. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 25(3), 1–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simoncini, K., Forndran, A., Manson, E., Sawi, J., Philip, M., & Kokinai, C. (2020). The impact of block play on children’s early mathematics skills in Rural Papua New Guinea. International Journal of Early Childhood, 52(1), 77–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simoncini, K., & Lasen, M. (2018). Ideas about STEM among Australian early childhood professionals: How important is STEM in early childhood education? International Journal of Early Childhood, 50(3), 353–369.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan, A., & Bers, M. U. (2017). Dancing robots: integrating art, music robotics in Singapore’s early childhood centers. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 28(1), 5. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-017-9397-0

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sundberg, B., Areljung, S., Due, K., Ekstrom, K., Ottander, C., & Tellgren, B. (2018). Opportunities for and obstacles to science in preschools: Views from a community perspective. International Journal of Science Education, 40(17), 2061–2077.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tank, K. M., Rynearson, A. M., & Moore, T. J. (2018). Examining student and teacher talk within engineering design in kindergarten. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(3), 10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tippett, C. D., & Milford, T. M. (2017). Findings from a pre-kindergarten classroom: Making the case for STEM in early childhood education. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 15(1), 67–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Toran, M., Aydin, E., & Etguer, D. (2020). Investigating the effects of STEM enriched implementations on school readiness and concept acquisition of children. Elementary Education Online, 19(1), 299–309.

    Google Scholar 

  • Torres Crospe, M. N., Kraatz, K., & Pallansch, L. (2014). From fearing STEM to playing with it-The naturel integration of STEM into the preschool classroom. SRATE Journal, 23(2), 8–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ugras, M., & Genc, Z. (2018). Preschool teacher candidates’ views about STEM education. Bartin Universitesi Egitim Fakultesi Dergisi, 7(2), 724–744.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uyanik-Balat, G., & Gunsen, G. (2017). Okul oncesi donemde STEM yaklasimi. The Journal of Academic Social Science, 5(47), 337–348.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was carried out under the responsibility of Istanbul Aydin University STEM Education Application and Research Center.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Devrim Akgunduz.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Akpinar, B.C., Akgunduz, D. The Effect of STEM Applications in Preschool on Students' Carrier Goals and Perceptions of Engineering. IJEC (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-022-00330-1

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-022-00330-1

Keywords

  • STEM education
  • Preschool
  • Career planning
  • Engineering perception
  • Science education