Youth’s Engagement as Scientists and Engineers in an Afterschool Making and Tinkering Program

Youth’s Engagement as Scientists and Engineers in an Afterschool Making and Tinkering Program

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Making and tinkering is currently gaining traction as an interdisciplinary approach to education. However, little is known about how these activities and explorations in formal and informal learning spaces address the content and skills common to professionals across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As such, the purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how youth were engaged in the eight science and engineering practice outlined within the US Next Generation Science Standards within an informal learnin environment utilizing principles of tinkering within the daily activities. Findings highligh how youth and facilitators engaged and enacted in practices common to scientists an engineers. Yet, in this study, enactment of these practices Blooked^ differently than might be expected in a formal learning environment such as a laboratory setting. For example, in this setting, students were observed carrying out trials on their design as opposed to carrying out a formal scientific investigation. Results also highlight instances of doing science and engineering not explicitly stated within parameters of formal education documents in the USA, such as experiences with failure.

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2017