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Accessible Playground Design: A Community-Connected Elementary Engineering Unit Focused on Designing Accessible Playground Equipment

In the ConnecTions in the Making project, researchers and district partners work to develop and study community-connected, integrated science and engineering curriculum units that support diverse elementary students’ science and engineering ideas, practices, and attitudes. In the community-connected units, students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades use human-centered design strategies to prototype and share functional solutions to a design challenge rooted in the students’ local community while scientifically exploring the phenomena and mechanisms related to the challenge.

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Exploring Generative Models with Middle School Students

Applications of generative models such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have made their way to social media platforms that children frequently interact with. While GANs are associated with ethical implications pertaining to children, such as the generation of Deepfakes, there are negligible eforts to educate middle school children about generative AI.

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Artificial Intelligence and Learning: NSF ITEST Projects At-A-Glance

Artificial intelligence (AI) is permeating the world around us, changing the ways we live, work, and learn. The National Science Foundation (NSF) lists AI as one of its organization-wide priorities, and is encouraging programs like ITEST to pursue what it means to prepare youth for careers in AI. In response to this, the STELAR convened an AI working group comprised of more than 20 projects funded through a variety of NSF programs.

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A multiple case study of an interorganizational collaboration: Exploring the first year of an industry partnership focused on middle school engineering education

Calls to improve learning in science, technology, engineering,and mathematics (STEM), and particularly engineering, present significantchallenges for school systems. Partnerships among engineering industry, uni-versities, and school systems to support learning appear promising, but currentwork is limited in its conclusions because it lacks a strong connection to theo-retical work in interorganizational collaboration.

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Experiences of Students, Teachers, and Parents Participating in an Inclusive, School-Based Informal Engineering Education Program

Many youth on the autism spectrum possess interests and strengths for STEM-related postsecondary pathways, yet there are few research-based programs to support those interests and competencies including complex problem solving and social communication. This qualitative study explored the experiences and perceived outcomes of students, teachers, and parents participating in an inclusive, strength-based, extracurricular engineering design program entitled the IDEAS Maker Club.

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Students’ Use of Computational Thinking Practices in an Undergraduate Biology‑Engineering Course

The construct of Computational Thinking (CT) frst emerged to describe problem solving in the context of computing environments, but it has expanded to serve as a set of practices that can be applied across disciplines with or without the use of computers. We recorded students’ work during two lab sessions in an undergraduate, biology-engineering course to answer the question, how did students’ participation in CT practices vary according the disciplinary contexts and the demands of a biology lab compared to the engineering lab?

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Urban youth and the environmental commons: rejuvenating civic engagement through civic science

Civic-science integrates science knowledge with civic practice but differs from the citizen-science prototype by reframing science as a public good and citizens as both recipients of and actors in policy. We draw from our studies of a civic-science model in which adolescents (majority African-American) collaborate with teachers and community partners to mitigate an environmental problem in their urban community.

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Applications of 3D Paleontological Data at the Florida Museum of Natural History

The past decade has seen an exponential increase of innovative applications of 3D technology in the geosciences. Here, we present a case study from the Florida Museum of Natural History applied to the multidisciplinary field of paleontology. We have deployed 3D scanning and printing techniques for the purposes of scientific research, formal education, and informal outreach. Depending on the application of the 3D file, different techniques are utilized to create high-fidelity models of physical fossil specimens or geologic field sites.

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3DnST: A Framework Towards Understanding Children’s Interaction with Tinkercad and Enhancing Spatial Thinking Skills

With the proliferation of 3D printing technologies in schools and makerspaces, there is a need for teaching 3D modeling to students. Learning 3D modeling enhances spatial thinking skills, an essential skill for success in STEM. Creating 3D models requires students to have a deep understanding of 3D space, including rotating and scaling. In this study, we propose a framework developed through video-coding from analyzing screen recordings of middle-school students’ usage of a 3D modeling tool - Tinkercad.

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Using Informed Design in Informal Computer Science Programs to Increase Youths’ Interest, Self-efficacy, and Perceptions of Parental Support

Our work is situated in research on Computer Science (CS) learning in informal learning environments and literature on the factors that influence girls to enter CS. In this article, we outline design choices around the creation of a summer programming camp for middle school youth. In addition, we describe a near-peer mentoring model we used that was influenced by Bandura's self-efficacy theory.

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