The proposed work assesses the efficacy of making among young children to determine the efficacy of Making: does it elicit enjoyment? Is that enjoyment related to meaningful learning? Teachers and developmental psychologists have advocated the importance of children's play in learning, but only relatively recently have scientists pointed to ways in which the active exploration of very young children supports learning. Like causal interventions informal science, in the course of play children spontaneously de-confound variables, explore unexpected outcomes, and take actions that reflect hypothesis testing.The work leverages the core assumptions of Making -- children's play -- through the development of a 'Mobile Maker Center' (MMC) that can be brought to local science museums, parks, zoos, or libraries to study children's interactions with STEM related toys. The work uses a novel approach to data gathering in the maker space, Databrary, to capture student engagement. MMC's are designed to facilitate developmentally appropriate themes for exploration, such as toys with levers and buttons (which teaches children about causality and hypothesis testing), a gear toy with removable parts (which teaches children about motor design and engineering explanations), and balance blocks (which teach children about the role of mass and length in scales and prediction).
|Effective start/end date||6/15/16 → 5/31/18|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))