PostedTuesday, July 5, 2016 at 10:20 AM
This paper presents the results of a study on whether a discovery based approach and a hands-on robotics program will improve students’ STEM attitudes, math performance, and intentions to pursue STEM education and careers.
"Learning through Guided Discovery: An Engaging Approach to K-12 STEM Education" was presented at the 2012 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition by Bettina J. Casad and Mariappan Jawaharlal of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
The Guided Discovery approach is a process in which students are encouraged to reinvent. The popular saying “don’t reinvent the wheel” is counterproductive in the context of learning as it attempts to impart knowledge through discoveries and inventions of other people. Real learning occurs when learners are immersed in authentic situations and are allowed to figure out the solutions and experience an aha! moment and discover critical knowledge themselves.
This paper presents the implementation of guided discovery approach using robotics at five elementary schools and presents the results of a study focused on measuring the effectiveness of this approach to introduce STEM to students. 260 elementary school students (4th graders) from five elementary schools in Southern California participated in this study. The study involved students being introduced to STEM using robotics. This initiative titled Robotics Education through Active Learning (REAL) trains teachers to conduct weekly sessions (90-120 minute-sessions) for 20-25 weeks in their classrooms with the support of Cal Poly Pomona faculty and students. The study culminated in a robot rally in which all participants from various schools attended and demonstrated their robots in various events. A survey was conducted after the event and the responses were analyzed and compared against a control group consisting of 66 students. The theory of planned behavior was used to predict students‟ plans for future STEM education.
The results of this study suggest that the robotics program based on the guided discovery approach is successful. The success of this program led to a follow-up study to measure students‟ perceived math and engineering ability, difficulty, STEM attitudes, and intentions to obtain good math grades. The second study indicated that many of the positive outcomes of this program persisted six months later.
You can read the abstract or download the full paper from the ASEE conference website.