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engineering design elementary science teacher education

Elementary Teachers’ Responsiveness to Supporting Students’ Engineering Design Feedback

Jeffrey Radloff , Brenda M. Capobianco

Using engineering design to teach science requires teachers to engage in noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ needs in real-time..

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Using engineering design to teach science requires teachers to engage in noticing, interpreting, and responding to students’ needs in real-time. While research has begun to focus on how elementary teachers do so, less is known about how teachers instructionally support and optimize students’ ideas through engineering design feedback. In this study we investigate what instructional moves two elementary teachers’ employ to leverage students’ ideas and reasoning and create opportunities for students to exchange design feedback. Data were gathered using classroom observations of teachers’ implementations of a design task focused on sound and energy transformation. Observations were coded for teachers’ use of high-leverage practices, and event maps were created to chronicle teachers’ implementation of the task from start to finish. Event maps were analyzed and compared for discrete instructional activities and modes of classroom organization that supported opportunities for feedback. Findings suggested that while teachers used similar instructional moves, how and when they created opportunities for student design feedback differed, resulting in diverse ways of assessing and supporting students’ understandings. Implications suggest design feedback as both a purposeful and naturally present phenomenon throughout the design process, reflective of the nature of engineering design.

Keywords: Engineering design, elementary science, teacher education.

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