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STEM Symposium — Innovate, Integrate, and Inspire!

in San Diego (September 21-23, 2014) we'll meet to share inspiring ideas about STEM Education.
Here is a topic-summary for my Round Table Discussion:
Building Bridges between Engineering and Science to Improve NGSS Practices

The wide scope` of Design Thinking — used for Engineering (broadly defined`) and Science, whenever critical evaluation guides creativity in iterative problem-solving Cycles of Design — lets us build two useful educational bridges (life/school and engineering/science), helping students improve their Engineering-and-Science Practices and motivations to learn and transfers of learning.


MORE — is in the home-page(s) for my website — and...

I've made a 1-page handout with “more about these ideas” to give people for the discussion.  It's available with black-and-white diagrams and with color diagrams.   (To see these diagrams in the right-side frame, click here.) (if you're using an iPad, click here for a useful tip)   Here is the text of the handout, with links:


The Wide Scope of Design allows Bridges for Motivation & Transfer

We use a process of design for almost everything we do, when we design a product, activity, strategy, or theory.  This wide scope lets us build two kinds of Educational Bridges to improve Motivation and Transfer:


MOTIVATION-Bridges between Life and School:

The simplicity of Design Thinking (see Diagram A`) — when we Define a Problem, then try to Solve the Problem by Generating-and-Evaluating Ideas in Cycles of Design — lets us show students how they have used DT in their past life (so they can confidently think “I have used DT for design-in-life, so I can use DT for design-in-school”), and they will use DT in their future life (so improving DT-skills in school will help them achieve their personal goals for life).  Their confidence and motivation promotes educational equity.   [Students "have used DT" and "will use DT" so the bridges we build are two-way, from life into school, and back into life.]


TRANSFER-Bridges between Engineering and Science:

In Diagram B, 3 elements (Predictions, Observations, Goals) are compared in 3 ways;  2 are used for General Design (this includes Engineering) and 1 is used for Science-Design.

In a Design-Inquiry Activity for General Design (e.g. Engineering), you use Quality Checks for your main objective (with quality of a Solution-Option defined by Goals) AND Reality Checks by asking “do Predictions (from Mental Experiment, using Explanatory Theory-Based Model + If-Then Logic) match Observations (from Physical Experiment)?”  By using this science-question, Engineering-DT and Science-DT occur in the same activity, in comparisons of the 3 elements.   [Building Bridges between Engineering and Science]  [Science is a special type of Design]  [Design-Inquiry and Science-Inquiry]  [In a 5-stage progression for learning we can help students use a process of inquiry to discover principles of inquiry-process.]

Transfers of Skills (including most NGSS Practices and more) occur because similar DT-skills are used for Inquiry Activities in all subject areas, so we expect a transfering of valuable DT-skills between areas.


In Diagram C, Critical Evaluation (in Quality Checks) stimulates-and-guides Creative Generation when you ask “revise Option?” in a Design Cycle, or “revise Model?” in a Science Cycle (using Reality Checks), with critical-and-creative Guided Generation of Ideas-for-Options.

In Diagram D, Cycles of Plan-and-Monitor (similar to SRL Cycles for Self-Regulated Learning) help you Learn More from Experience to develop-and-use a wide variety of cognitive-and-metacognitive Thinking Strategies. (and for other kinds of strategies, or activities or products, or science-models, [for pursuing all objectives])    [learning more from experience]


I'm excited about our opportunities to improve motivations and transfers for a wider range of students, to improve educational equity.  In fact, I almost submitted the topic below — in the strand for "Diversity, Equity, and Opportunity in STEM" — instead of the topic above:

Motivate a Wider Range of Students with Design-Thinking Bridges

We do almost everything in life by using similar design-thinking skills, combining creativity with critical thinking in Cycles of Design.  This broad scope lets teachers build bridges from life to school and back into life, across all subjects, to improve learning-motivations and skill-transfers for more students, across a wider range of backgrounds and experiences, to improve educational equity.


But there is plenty of overlap between these two closely-related topics, and the most important ideas about equity are in my handout and will be in our discussion.



If you're using an iPad – which shows iFrames improperly due to a poor designing of its iOS – click this link to see only the left-side text, and this link to get only the right-side diagrams.