STOMP lessons enable K-12 students to work with given materials to design projects and achieve goals around the new concepts.
Benefits of Educational Outreach Programs
Evaluations and pilot studies implemented by STOMP at Tufts have shown that engineering students participating in STOMP gain both leadership and communication skills.
STOMP participants also realize the value of community service. In fact, the past three Tufts STOMP program managers have received the Tufts Presidential Award for Active Citizenship and Public Service, which recognizes Tufts students for their community leadership, public service and civic engagement.
In 2009-2010 there are 35 Tufts students who spend an average of 5 hours per week developing and implementing hands-on STEM activities. Eighteen other universities have also adopted the STOMP model and contribute to STEM K-12 education beyond the Boston area.
To further expand the STOMP Network, STOMP at Tufts offers starter equipment grants ($3,000 - $5,000) to other universities interested in developing a STEM outreach program.
All activities, photos, and project videos from past Tufts STOMP classrooms are available on the website for programs to adopt or gain ideas for the development of new STEM activities.
How to Join STOMP
Become a member of the STOMP network to gain access to STOMP manuals and program resources. The STOMP Network brings outreach programs together, fostering collaboration and sharing of resources, curriculum and classroom materials.
There are two ways to get involved with STOMP at Tufts:
Six middle-school teachers were selected to participate in this study and all taught the same LEGO robotics-engineering curriculum developed by the researcher and collaborators. Each of the teachers previously participated in a summer teacher professional development workshop led by the researcher or collaborators. Data from these teachers was collected in the form of: (1) semi- structured interviews, (2)videotaped classroom observations, (3) hands-on think-aloud tasks, and(4) student projects.
Miles and Huberman's (1994) qualitative data analysis approach will be applied in the analysis of the interview, task, observation, and student project data. The approach incorporates different types of data into displays and matrices to help reduce and organize data for analysis. The data is then analyzed by noting patterns and themes, clustering data, making comparisons, and noting relationships and then organizing the data into conceptually ordered matrices and charts, which help tell the story. A complete content analysis of the curriculum and results from the previous pilot study (see Hynes, 2007b) provided the basis for the coding scheme that has been developed to this point. Both within-case analysis for each teacher and cross-case analysis among the teachers will be used to examine the data.
The results from this study may help inform engineering educators prepare teachers,develop teacher resources, and create curriculum that will foster students' knowledge and interest in engineering. The research may also provide valuable insight into methods of analyzing teacher knowledge and how it can be researched further. If nothing else a small handful of teachers and their students will experience the excitement of engineering with LEGO!
In this quasi-experimental intervention study, the experimental teachers participate in a week-long summer training program on two of the engineering-based curriculum modules and then implement those modules in their classrooms during the following academic year. The comparison teachers are teachers in the same districts who continue to use their conventional curriculum to address equivalent content. These teachers become experimental teachers the year after they provide comparison data. The metrics for studying the curriculum enactments include pre and post-intervention knowledge assessments of all students, pre- and post-intervention interviews with selected students, videotaped classroom observations, and attitudinal surveys of all students and teachers.
During the 2008-09 year, we conducted a study of science content
learning in 14 experimental (engineering-design-based curriculum) and 6
comparison (traditional curriculum) classrooms. Pretests and posttests were
used to measure science content performance in the domains of material
properties, sound, simple machines, and animal adaptations.
Overall, paired t-tests revealed significant gains from individual pretests to posttests, across all four domains and both treatment groups. However, there was a main effect of treatment (engineering vs. traditional curriculum) on the magnitude of the pre-post gain score. On average, in three of the four science domains (material properties, simple machines, and animal adaptations), the engineering-design-based science students improved significantly more (p<.01) than the comparison students, as shown. In the domain of sound, the engineering students' average gain was higher than that of comparison students, but this difference was not significant. However, the engineering students earned equivalent sound posttest scores, despite having significantly lower sound pretest scores than the comparison students. Thus, after the engineering-design-based curriculum module on sound, students were able to achieve at levels equal to those of comparison students who had previously been outperforming them.
Students in the 5th grade at a Boston area middle school were participants in this study. The study consisted of each student participating in three interview-based sessions where they produced representations in various systems. The science task/exploration in question is the linked syringe problem (below). In this demonstration, the outlets (nozzles) of each syringe are linked using a piece of clear plastic tubing. As the participant pushes the plunger of one syringe down, the other plunger extends.
Students were asked to share what they know about air and air pressure,
based on the device, using oral language, drawing, stop-action movies, and
physical constructions. All students participated in a classroom project
that familiarized them with the SAM Animation software prior to
participating in the research. The interview sessions were ordered as such:
(1) oral language and drawing, (2) animation, and (3) physical construction.
Students were presented example representations in each session, produced by
students in the pilot study, to see how students were able to critique other
ways of expressing how air works in the linked syringes.
Pilot Study Results
A pilot study was conducted with a very similar methodology, and the results are as follows. In the four primary forms of representation used in this study (oral language, drawing, animation, and physical construction), there appears to be two trends in students' explanations about air and air pressure. Students have a tendency to attend to the "material substance" aspects of air in certain circumstances and to the "process" of air moving in other circumstances. The material-substance aspects of air include descriptions of gases, of how gases fill spaces, and of the particle nature of matter. Process descriptions refer to how air can move objects, how air is compressible in specific contexts, and how it flows as a fluid quantity. Alongside these two perspectives, state and process, students tend to use semblances of some basic explanatory frameworks, depending on the context. These models include "air takes up space", "air as a continuous, fluid material", and "air as a collection of particles". Each model is used in different ways to make sense of different aspects of the linked syringes. Therefore, the analysis of these data will be guided by the notions of state vs. process and of the primary explanatory models employed by the students.
One hypothesis for the relationship between process ideas and animation is the inherent temporal nature of stop-motion animation. In order to make an animation, the student must generate a sequence of images. Each image comprises an instance in time, and the collection of images represents a some change over time. While the student generates an image, he or she is aware of the prior image and anticipating the next image - in a sense, considering three instances at once. Therefore, the medium forces students to think over some temporal span (albeit, relatively small), which provides them with a method for analyzing change over small amounts of time. In the case of change-over-time, we believe this helps students to better understand processes by helping them break down changes over time.
Goals and Overview
The overall purpose of this research project is to measure the effectiveness of engineering service experiences as pedagogical methods for teaching engineering and to examine how these experiences attract a more diverse set of engineering students than is currently represented in the population of engineering students. This project will conduct an investigation of how participation in engineering service relates to the dynamic interplay between students' engineering design self-efficacy, engineering epistemological beliefs, and understanding of fundamental engineering concepts. Our analysis will be used to quantify the role that such programs - specifically the Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP), Engineers Without Borders (EWB-USA), and Engineering Projects in Community Service-Learning (EPICS) - have in attracting and retaining students to engineering.
Furthermore, because these engineering service experiences tend to have a disproportionately high percentage of women participants in relation to the overall percentage of women in engineering programs, this project will also use these three constructs to explain why these programs are particularly attractive to women in engineering.
To investigate the research questions, engineering undergraduate students participating in STOMP, EWB, and EPICS will be compared to engineering students going through traditional classroom learning and undergraduate research opportunities. Each participant will be given a set of surveys and and a design task to analyze their self-efficacy toward engineering design, their engineering epistemological beliefs, and their conceptual understanding of the engineering design process. The first two assessments will be conducted using online surveys that have already been validated. The latter instrument will be administered as a hands-on design task.
Pilot studies of the design task using verbal protocol analysis have just been completed. The results of these studies can be viewed in our REES Conference publications, Design Studies publication, and ASEE conference proceedings. The results of these studies have been used to develop a digital workbook (using Robobooks) designed to collect quantitative data. The purely quantitative study is currently underway and will hopefully have presentable results by the Summer of 2010.
What problems do first grade students identify?
This study, still in development, will use qualitative methods for documenting classroom interactions. In addition, students performance on tasks used in the pre and post assessments will be evaluated to generate a performance score.
The study conducted was a one-time cross-sectional assessment of multiple constructs designed to provide an in depth characterization of learning through service students who volunteered to be part of the study. These combined sources were designed to provide a broad overview of the students attracted to learning through service. The chosen constructs analyze how a student perceives service compared to traditional coursework as a source of learning professional and technical skills, what their epistemological beliefs are toward engineering, what their personality traits are, and their self-concepts toward the key service component of engineering design. Each construct was measured and analyzed to investigate the dynamic interplay between constructs and the predicting power of achievement.