Girls Power in Making
Understanding Trajectories of Identification with STEM Disciplines Among Diverse Adolescent Girls in Making, Coding and Robotics Infused Science Classes
The goal of this research project is to develop a proof of concept by designing and implementing socially and culturally mediated Maker and Making approach to coding and robotics in the context of life sciences curriculum which aims at understanding how to support and empower girls’ participation and identity development in STEM disciplines. The team of multi-disciplinary collaborators of UMD professors, students, local science and engineering teachers, as well as community consultants together designed and developed curricular plans, aligned with the Massachusetts Science and Technology standards as well as Next Generation Science Standards. The curricular plans have been implemented in local schools. Various qualitative data have been collected to understand the affordances of diverse social and material epistemic tools in science meaning making and STEM identity development in the context of formal science education. One of the project’s deliverables is to provide professional development for teachers on the ways in which culturally and linguistically diverse learners, specifically diverse girls, meaning making and identity development in science could be made visible and recognizable.
Maker Tools and Technologies
Specifically, we will be using macroscopic self-propelled Bristle-Bots. Students will make simple automata using a toothbrush and power it by an on-board mobile vibrator-motor, which allows Bots to sense each other through shape-dependent local interactions, and can also sense the environment non-locally via the effects of scopes and substrate structure. Once they make their Bristle Bots (a Making activity), they will observe and begin to analyze how they behave on their own and then when then are brought together.
Other examples of projects will include game-based coding exercises will include understanding swarm behaviors through simulations such as particle swarm optimization and the Game of Life.
*This project, funded by the Provost Seed Funding, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, was led by Prof. Shakhnoza Kayumova.