1. Amber Simpson
  2. Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education
  3. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  4. https://athomeengineers.com/
  5. Binghamton University
  1. Nikeetha Farfan D'Souza
  2. Postdoctoral Fellow
  3. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  4. https://athomeengineers.com/
  5. Indiana University
  1. Jungsun Kim
  2. Research Scientist
  3. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  4. https://athomeengineers.com/
  5. Indiana University
  1. Soo Hyeon Kim
  2. http://soohyeon.kim
  3. Assistant professor
  4. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  5. https://athomeengineers.com/
  6. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
  1. Peter Knox
  2. Graduate Research Assistant
  3. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  4. https://athomeengineers.com/
  5. Binghamton University
  1. Adam Maltese
  2. http://www.adammaltese.com
  3. Associate Professor
  4. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  5. https://athomeengineers.com/
  6. Indiana University
  1. Monika Mayer
  2. Consultant / External Evaluator
  3. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  4. https://athomeengineers.com/
  5. Binghamton University
  1. Jing Yang
  2. Graduate Assistant
  3. Strategies: Engineering a Community-Family Partnership: Developing a Program aimed at Making and Design Practices in Home Environments
  4. https://athomeengineers.com/
  5. Indiana University
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Amber Simpson

    Amber Simpson

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education
    May 10, 2021 | 06:42 p.m.

    Thank you for visiting the "Impact of Family-Community University Engineering Project" video. Our collaborative research project is currently in the third year of data collection. The included video recordings span the three year research project, including recordings by families at home and submitted to the project team via the SIBME app. We are especially interested to hear feedback from researchers and practitioners in regard to the following questions:

    1. What resonates with you regarding our project? What feedback do you have for us?

    2. How have you engaged with families in engineering activities at home during the pandemic? What have you found to be successful forms of engaging? 

    3. How do you best support the caregiver/child team in the engineering design process in a virtual environment?

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 01:06 a.m.

    I really enjoyed your video and project.  I love the family connections. What were the most profound lessons you learned through your work? 


    To respond to your questions: 

    1. The family connection resonates with me.  Parents are children's first role model so I feel this is a highly effective approach to help kids develop interest in STEM/ Engineering. 

    2. During the pandemic, I made supply kits for students in my programs to have real, hands-on experiences while getting instruction through ZOOM.  I think an unintentional bonus of this was that families got involved so much more than when students complete a project at school. 

    3. To add to my response for 2. I think that having some intentional family projects would be wonderful to bringing the engineering design process to LIFE at home.  Asking them to be part of a zoom discussion and "debrief" after the project would add a rich layer of learning as well. 

  • Icon for: Monika Mayer

    Monika Mayer

    Co-Presenter
    Education Consultant / External Evaluator
    May 11, 2021 | 12:21 p.m.

    Thank you for your feedback and your comments.

    Observations from two years of interview data, as well video data collected in project sessions and home environments from 19 families include the following findings: Youth were observed enacting the practices and processes of an engineer and were able to describe how they worked as engineers in the program. There was some newfound interest in STEM for some youth. Caregivers expressed learning ways to talk about engineering to their child(ren), being more comfortable in building things around their home, learning STEM content, and changing interactions with their child(ren) from “this is what you have to do” to “what do you think about this?”. 

    As a result of the feedback we received, the team made changes to the engineering kits and facilitation cards to make them more user-friendly for families. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic we moved the program online and continued to support families’ engagement in the engineering design process remotely, through dropping off engineering kits at their home, following up with email and phone calls and hosting virtual sessions. We dropped off engineering kits at families’ homes and followed up with an interactive and collaborative Zoom session where families reflected about their experience with the engineering kits and showed each other what they made. I agree with you that the debrief after the project “adds a rich layer of learning”.

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:28 p.m.

    Wow!  Thank you.  These are really great results. Thank you for explaining these so well. 

     

  • Icon for: Eric Hamilton

    Eric Hamilton

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 02:49 p.m.

    Amber and team, this is wonderful to see.  Family connections can truly reinforce the natural and design process. Your video makes me wonder what it would be like to have family groups parallel create projects - do the same project and share results - across national or cultural boundaries.  If you have a chance, look at our video, where we have kids in different countries working on STEM projects together. I think having family activities done in parallel could be very powerful - a family in Indiana doing a project with a family in Las Vegas or Mexico or Kenya, and sharing results.  Just an idea - let me know your thoughts.  But I really like the way you make engineering accessible to families.  Thank you.

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:30 p.m.

    I agree.  When families are part of the experience, it is more likely to become part of homelife.  Family engineering and trying new things elevates the social and academic aspects of learning together. 

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    DeLene Hoffner
    Monika Mayer
  • Icon for: Mark Heckman

    Mark Heckman

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2021 | 03:29 p.m.

    Great project. Our NOAA OER workshops have similar materials I would guess in our Teacher PD resources. Noted when we went online this year, teachers would take the materials during the first of two sessions and often build them at home with their own family for the followup. Fun stuff. Almso ade me think about the fact that most homeowners do not seem to be able to do basic repairs to their own homes. "Shop" classes have mostly gone away for many schools. Seems like another possible pathway here for your projects - maybe you already do this - connecting a project to a "life skill" as my kids called them.  Nice program.

  • Icon for: Monika Mayer

    Monika Mayer

    Co-Presenter
    Education Consultant / External Evaluator
    May 11, 2021 | 03:57 p.m.

    Nice to meet you, Mark and thank you for your comment. I fully agree with you that connecting projects and using the engineering design process to solve challenges is a good "life skill". As parents work with their children they are seeing them as being capable of working like an engineer, coming up with ideas, brainstorming a solution to a problem, designing a prototype and making modifications as needed. The novelty about our collaborative partnership project is the focus on identifying and solving a design problem that matters to students grades 3-6 and their families and is relevant to their lives and the community they live in. At the same time this is also a challenge.

    I am curious how are others engaging students and families in the process of identifying and solving a problem that matters to them?

  • Icon for: Graciela Solis

    Graciela Solis

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 03:37 p.m.

    Thanks so much for sharing information about how caregivers think of their role in their children's learning. Have you found any cultural differences in what parents assume is their role or how they scaffold these activities?

  • Icon for: Monika Mayer

    Monika Mayer

    Co-Presenter
    Education Consultant / External Evaluator
    May 11, 2021 | 06:53 p.m.

    Great to meet you, Graciela and thanks for your comment and question. We can’t really speak to cultural differences at any level of robustness. That said, our team member, Jungsun Kim from Indiana University can speak to this related to projects she has done with Korean families. You can reach her at jk153@iu.edu

  • Icon for: Monika Mayer

    Monika Mayer

    Co-Presenter
    Education Consultant / External Evaluator
    May 11, 2021 | 03:39 p.m.

    Great to meet you Eric and thanks for your interest in our project and your feedback. 

    Our primary goals of the project are to learn how the program might support participation and implementation of engineering design practices in the home environments of populations living in under-resourced communities and how that might impact youth engineering identity. Further exploration looks at changes in caregivers’ views of engineering, as well as how caregivers and their child(ren) interacted with one another through the engineering design process, from ideation to final solution. 

    The project has two implementation sites, one in Binghamton and one in Indiana. Families at each site are first introduced to different steps of the engineering design process through at-home engineering kits (e.g. Take-apart Toy, Amusement Park) providing accessible materials. Like in your project, families are using the same projects and sharing how they engage in the engineering design process to create a unique prototype. In Phase 2 families move into brainstorming ideas and identifying a challenge that they want to solve. They receive ongoing feedback and support and share their final prototype with the group in a showcase at the end - we hope this will be an in-person meeting this summer.

  • Icon for: Amber Simpson

    Amber Simpson

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education
    May 11, 2021 | 09:33 p.m.

    Hi Eric. I absolutely love the idea of co-family making and creation across national, international, and culture boundaries. I also use CHAT in some of my research, but have to yet to utilize the theory to this project.

  • Icon for: Anna Marti-Subirana

    Anna Marti-Subirana

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 04:50 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing.  Family participation is being proven as more and more important for success in STEM, especially in underrepresented communities.  This project is just an example of that!

  • Icon for: Monika Mayer

    Monika Mayer

    Co-Presenter
    Education Consultant / External Evaluator
    May 11, 2021 | 06:56 p.m.

    Great to meet you, Ana and thanks for your comment. We fully agree! One of our goals is to empower families, especially families from underrepresented communities, to support their children’s engagement in STEM and in particular engineering and to unleash the untapped talent of their children. We are interested to learn how engaging in engineering design practices with an emphasis on emerging technologies in home environments is associated with shifts in youth's engineering identity and gain an understanding of how involvement in the program influences caregiver awareness of ways to support their kids in STEM. 

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Facilitator
    Independent Consultant
    May 11, 2021 | 11:34 p.m.

    What a nice video and project... great seeing families working together, and having those 'aha!' moments that you don't often see even parents/caregivers have! Your STEM project helps students and their caregivers.

    When you say "Families at each site are first introduced to different steps of the engineering design process through at-home engineering kits" I wonder if they need additional assistance - I can imagine that not all are able to or eager to follow steps. I'd love to hear more.

  • Icon for: Peter Knox

    Peter Knox

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 12, 2021 | 01:51 p.m.

    Hi, Myriam - 

    That's an excellent point. One component to the engineering kits are two sets of instructions - a facilitator guide for caregivers (these have facilitation questions, guidance, etc.) and a set of instructions specifically for students. We try to limit the prescriptive nature of these, though, as we want the kits to act more as a simple guide while allowing for student agency, creativity, and independent thinking.

    Our aim is to use these kits as an introduction to the engineering design cycle, so that when we move to the independent, self-identified project phase they have been exposed to the general steps/stages. 

  • Icon for: Myriam Steinback

    Myriam Steinback

    Facilitator
    Independent Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 02:50 p.m.

    Thank you for clarifying. What feedback do you get  from the caregivers?

  • Icon for: Peter Knox

    Peter Knox

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 12, 2021 | 03:22 p.m.

    You bet. We try and conduct end-of-program interviews with as many participants as possible. From caregivers we often hear about growth and development they see in their kids - more confidence, new or renewed interest in certain aspects of engineering or STEM, etc. - but we also hear about how their attitudes or understanding of what they can contribute to this type of STEM learning changes. Through acting as a "co-engineer" with their student, caregivers find that they have experiences and ways of thinking that can help facilitate their child's learning, which changes caregiver thinking about their role in their child's education and development.

  • Small default profile

    Linda Kekelis

    May 12, 2021 | 01:39 p.m.

     

    What resonates with you regarding our project? What feedback do you have for us?

    I appreciated that the prompt for the engineering activity allowed kids to work on a problem in their community that they wanted to address. Having a project with personal relevance is so important. I hope that you lift up this idea for parents and caregivers.

    I really like how your goal is to empower parents to feel qualified and capable of supporting their child in learning about engineering. Many parents feel that they aren't experts and don't have the experience to support their child in STEM. Your activity is showing them otherwise. In her own words, a caregiver shared her new appreciation for engineering "It's an everyday kind of experience." Yes!

    I appreciated the diversity of families in the video and the use of everyday materials like cereal boxes and egg cartons. 

    I would love to learn and read more about the project.

     

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Megan Davis
  • Icon for: Peter Knox

    Peter Knox

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 12, 2021 | 01:46 p.m.

    Hi, Linda - 

    Thanks very much for your comment. We completely agree and were intentional in our position of the students as the "lead engineer" in these projects. We wanted to give as much leeway and agency as possible so that they might be able to make a strong connection between an area of interest or excitement to them and how engineering likely plays a role in that area.

    Having the caregivers working along side the students was helpful, too, as they have unique relationships and deep understandings of student interests and experiences, which in turn helps them to contribute to the projects. We're starting to find that this is a critical component to developing their own understanding and confidence in their ability to teach and learn alongside their child. 

  • Icon for: Josie Melton

    Josie Melton

    Facilitator
    Post-Doctoral Researcher and Senior Instructor
    May 12, 2021 | 04:01 p.m.

    Like many other commenters, I also appreciate the family engagement your project provides.  In another comment you mentioned that caregivers receive separate instructions for the engineering tasks - I am wondering if caregivers received any separate information at the beginning of the project about the engineering design process, or if they learned about it by participating along with their student learner.

    Thanks for sharing about your work!

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Megan Davis
  • Icon for: Megan Davis

    Megan Davis

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 18, 2021 | 11:17 a.m.

    I too wondered about instructions for the caregivers. Were there any messages about how to "step back" as a co-engineer and let the child lead, how to avoid taking the project into the adult's hands when a child struggles to put the parts together, about avoiding the urge to "get it right" versus experimenting and failing, and about how to watch for one child taking over the project and minimizing the input of another? As I learned from Linda Kekelis (commenter above) at Techbridge, STEM Facilitation is an art!

  • Icon for: Monika Mayer

    Monika Mayer

    Co-Presenter
    Education Consultant / External Evaluator
    May 18, 2021 | 06:16 p.m.

    Hi Megan - thanks for your comment and your great questions. We fully agree that STEM facilitation is an art. The messages you mentioned are all important messages to parents/caregivers. At the core of the program is the caregiver-child team. We included messages like these in the facilitation guides for parents that were send out to families with each engineering kit. Those messages were also reinforced in the virtual "Show and Tell" meetings with families as well as in one-on-one calls with parents. Providing these messages in an online environment via Zoom has been more compared to in-person workshops were it was easier for facilitators to model what we would like to see and to provide these messages in the moment. 

  • Icon for: Peter Knox

    Peter Knox

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Research Assistant
    May 12, 2021 | 05:00 p.m.

    Hi, Josie - thanks for your question. Our program is essentially made up of two phases - the first with distinct at-home engineering kits (those include a caregiver facilitation guide and student instructions). The second phase is the family identified and led project. Caregivers don't receive separate info about the engineering design cycle, but through participation in the kits, as well as group meetings/activities with researchers, they learn about the cycle steps and what they entail. Our aim is to have them learning and participating in this process alongside their student every step of the way. 

  • Icon for: Josie Melton

    Josie Melton

    Facilitator
    Post-Doctoral Researcher and Senior Instructor
    May 15, 2021 | 01:11 a.m.

    I love the idea of the caregivers learning along with students through this process, especially during the time of at-home learning, when caregivers were often taking on a teacher role. Engineering is a collaborative process and it is so great to be engaging caregivers and students in solving a problem that is meaningful to them.  

  • Icon for: DeLene Hoffner

    DeLene Hoffner

    Facilitator
    Lead Teacher
    May 13, 2021 | 09:43 a.m.

    Bravo to all for this wonderful discussion! Thank you for viewing and adding your questions and expertise. Please share the STEM Showcase with others so they can participate in the discussion too. Let's get more educators involved in viewing these top projects. Voting and discussion ends on May 18th at 8PM EDT. (but viewing is open anytime) https://stemforall2021.videohall.com/

    For presenters, what are your next steps going forward?

  • Icon for: Jing Yang

    Jing Yang

    Co-Presenter
    Graduate Assistant
    May 13, 2021 | 04:51 p.m.

    Thank you for your questions. We would like to advance our project both in terms of research and program development. We have several ongoing research about this program to help us understand how STEM learning occurs in informal spaces and home environments, the role of caregivers on children’s STEM learning, the influence of contextual factors on caregivers’ roles, etc. We will use what we learned from our research to improve our family engineering program, especially encourage caregivers’ engagement in their home environment. For example, we would like to focus on the engineering-making kits before families work on problems they identified themselves.

    The program has expanded to more rural areas in the past year. Partners include schools, libraries, and a community center. We are still refining the program based on our research and feedback we received. Extending to other locations will allow us to determine the scalability of the program as populations and settings vary.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    DeLene Hoffner
  • Icon for: Lauren Pagano

    Lauren Pagano

    Graduate Student
    May 14, 2021 | 11:55 a.m.

    As you have demonstrated in this project, it is so important for families to see that engineering does not required high levels of expertise, but that it is something they can do and learn about in their daily lives. In our work, we similarly have had parents comment that they feel that these activities are helping their children develop an interest in STEM! In this project, have you observed any differences in parent-child interactions or parents' takeaways between parents who do and do not have STEM backgrounds?

  • Icon for: Jungsun Kim

    Jungsun Kim

    Co-Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 14, 2021 | 01:14 p.m.

    Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for your question. Facilitating children’s interest in STEM through family engagement is the core of our project! We did not find any statistical differences according to caregivers’ STEM backgrounds because of the nature of this qualitative study. However, I’m happy to discuss how caregivers use their STEM knowledge with various facilitation strategies. Could you clarify what STEM background means? Do you mean educational degrees or careers related STEM? I would like to share some information that can explain why parental STEM knowledge is less important in this project. We created five kits based on the engineering design process. Each kit included one instruction card, materials, and tools. The instruction cards provided a stepwise guidance of the activity: engineering task (proposing a problem which participants should solve in this activity), a list of materials, and 4-5 inquiry-based steps focused on the making process with photos, kit chats (i.e., questions for caregivers), and links to substantial resources. Most caregivers followed this guidance and used kit chats. If they conducted this activity without this guidance, caregivers’ STEM knowledge can appear more clearly in interactions. Please let me know if you would like to discuss our findings of diverse patterns and conflicts in caregiver-child interactions in this project.

  • Icon for: Amber Simpson

    Amber Simpson

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education
    May 15, 2021 | 10:03 a.m.

    One of the things we find ourselves faced with is the development of a doable engineering design problem. We love that children think big, but wondering if others have ideas on how to acknowledge and honor the child's ideas and curiosity while also narrowing their prototype to one that is both feasible and developmentally appropriate?

  • Icon for: Jacqueline Ekeoba

    Jacqueline Ekeoba

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 05:12 p.m.

    I really like the idea of this project and hearing from parents! In the context of COVID-19, I wonder if families were more apt to engage in STEM learning, including the engineering design process. 

    I also wanted to invite to view an informal STEM experience done at University of Houston: https://videohall.com/p/2031

  • Icon for: Soo Hyeon Kim

    Soo Hyeon Kim

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant professor
    May 17, 2021 | 05:46 p.m.

    Nice to meet you, Jacqueline! Thank you for your question. We have observed that families were generally excited for an opportunity to continue their STEM learning engagement at home during the pandemic using our kits; however, our study did not look into whether families were more motivated or interested in engaging in STEM learning during the pandemic. As presented in our video, both caregivers and children enjoyed the family learning experience and some expressed that this experience triggered new STEM interests.

    Thank you for sharing your project. It is amazing the number of children your project was able to serve through tHSI. I am curious how your team managed to recruit the students. Were you utilizing existing partnerships with schools and other organizations?

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