EEGRC poster: Improving pre-service elementary teachers' nature of engineering views with the use of EV3 robotics

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings


American Society for Engineering Education




The need for engineering education for K-12 students is an ever-present concern of makers of educational policy in the United States. With the release of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), engineering design is raised to the level of scientific inquiry. Both pre-service teachers and inservice teachers should be exposed to engineering design through professional development programs and modification of existing science teacher education courses before they are asked to integrate engineering design to their science teaching. The aim of this paper is to document to what extent pre-service elementary teachers improve their nature of engineering (NOE) views after taking an undergraduate level elementary science teaching methods course. This course was modified to make it more compatible with the Next Generation Science Standards. The course in its modified form includes engineering design component. Specifically, the engineering design component was addressed with the use of educational robotics. The pre-service elementary teachers, with no earlier educational robotics experience, were introduced to the engineering design through educational robotics challenges. Pre-service teachers' NOE views were assessed at the beginning and at the end of the methods course to determine whether they improved their NOE views. NGSS aligned challenges with the Mindstorms EV3 educational robotics kit were used to explicitly teach pre-service elementary teachers about NOE. Because of the popularity of First Lego League (FLL) competition in engaging elementary students to engineering fields, researchers used materials associated with this successful program during the course. Simultaneously, pre-service teachers reflected on how these lessons could apply to their future students' understanding of NOE views. In this study, we conceptualized NOE views as engineering design ideas are tentative, subjective, socially and culturally embedded, depends on human imagination and creativity, requires social collaboration and, subject to empirical tests. We found that pre-service elementary teachers improved their NOE views across these NOE aspects. We also found anecdotal evidence that pre-service teachers felt more confident to integrate engineering design into their future science teaching. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2017.