“We actually made something and solved a problem”: Exploring relationships between middle school engineering culture and girls' engineering experiences

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Edna Tan, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: As historically construed, both engineering culture and school science culture marginalize girls.With the focus on engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), engineeringeducation researchers have called for a more targeted investigation of how girls at the K-12 levelengage in engineering. This study investigates, through critical participatory ethnography, how 6thgrade girls engaged in an Engineering for Sustainable Communities unit (EfSC) guided byconceptual frameworks centered on Cultural Ways of Learning and Rightful Presence. Three indepthcases are presented that explore the kinds of engineering problem spaces girls chose toaddress through iterative design of functional prototypes. Findings reveal, first, how anchoringengineering in girls' embodied experiences supported new forms of participation, new roles forembodied experiences and new making present practices, thereby solidifying a more equitableculture. Second, as the girls moved and hybridized embodied community/STEM ideas andresources, they organized and put into action (through decisions made while “doing” engineering)their values, ideals and desires and that of their communities. Third, we found signifiers, themes,symbols and practices of an emergent engineering culture in which girls positioned themselves asable. These effected engineering for social-spatial justice using a technically rich and sociallyspecific iterative engineering process which seeded a rightful presence for girls in middle schoolscience.

Additional Information

Science Education, 107(1)
Language: English
Date: 2022
engineering culture, justice, middle school girls, rightful presence, sustainability

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