“Engineering Is for Everyone”

A Case Study of Elementary Engineering Design

In: Towards Inclusion of All Learners through Science Teacher Education

Abstract

The expectation of the Next Generation Science Standards is that teachers would provide all students, including students with learning disabilities, with equitable opportunities for science and engineering education through relevant content and supportive learning conditions. This case study examined the experience of one pre-service elementary teacher, Cari, who worked with fourth-grade students with learning disabilities as they solved an engineering problem. We analysed data from her lesson plans, lesson reflections, and interview through the lens of the Universal Design for Learning principles and the Next Generation Science Standards disciplinary core ideas for engineering design. The results revealed Cari’s belief that all students could succeed through supportive and equitable learning opportunities–a belief that guided her instructional decisions, high expectations of students, and reflective practice. In addition, the findings indicated the challenges and successes she experienced as she sought to promote the engineering disciplinary core ideas as well as her choice of approaches to use to meet the learning needs of students. The results of this study may provide teacher educators at the elementary level with suggestions for how PSTs can be inclusive educators meeting NGSS expectations for integrating engineering with science learning.

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