Empowering students'engineering thinking: An empirical study of integrating engineering into science class at junior secondary schools

Xiaohong ZHAN, Daner SUN, Rui SONG, Yuqin YANG, Ying ZHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background, the context, and purpose of the study: With the prosperity of STEM education, engineering thinking has emerged as a crucial component of engineering education. However, current STEM educational practices do not totally promote engineering thinking among students at junior secondary schools. This paper presents a study that investigates the effects of teaching innovation, specifically the Engineering Integrated Science (EIS) curriculum, which integrates engineering design into science classes. The study aims to explore the impact of this curriculum on the development of junior secondary school students' engineering thinking skills, including systems thinking, critical thinking, and creative thinking.

Results, the main findings: This study employed a quasi-experimental design with 286 junior secondary school students, split equally between experimental and control groups, to investigate the impact of integrating engineering design into science classes on students' engineering thinking. Mixed methods, including pre-posttests and interviews, were used to collect data and evaluate the effectiveness of the EIS curriculum, while also exploring influential factors such as academic achievement levels and gender. The results revealed that the EIS curriculum brought about significant differences in engineering thinking between the experimental group and the control group; the experimental group performed better in the development of systems thinking, critical thinking and creative thinking. Further findings suggested students’ achievement levels and gender difference affected their performance in engineering thinking, for example, students with low achievement levels were comparatively weak at creative thinking; male and female students demonstrated similar levels of engineering thinking, with males showing better performance in creative thinking.

Conclusions, brief summary, and potential implications: This study employed mixed research methods to analyze and compare the development of students' engineering thinking before and after the implementation of a self-developed EIS curriculum. Overall, the results showed that the implementation of the EIS curriculum could improve students’ engineering thinking significantly, and expose the impact of this curriculum on students’ systems thinking, critical thinking, and creative thinking. The findings will contribute to the research of thinking skills in engineering-oriented STEM education and inform the design and implementation of engineering-oriented STEM education. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101364
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Volume49
Early online dateJun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Citation

Zhan, X., Sun, D., Song, R., Yang, Y., & Zhan, Y. (2023). Empowering students'engineering thinking: An empirical study of integrating engineering into science class at junior secondary schools. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 49, Article 101364. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2023.101364

Keywords

  • Engineering thinking
  • STEM education
  • Engineering integrated science (EIS)
  • Junior secondary schools

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