Research Experience for Undergraduates at Olin College
Topics in Engineering Experience
This summer, I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Olin College where my colleagues and I studied various topics in engineering education. My research team, under the mentorship of Dr. Amon Millner, studied the effects of project-based learning on secondary STEM education. More specifically, we researched the benefits of the implementation of Rube Goldberg machines in math and science classes. I was tasked with assessing the accessibility of these chain reaction machines, and how they could be used in a variety of classroom and non-classroom settings to reach a wide range of learners.
Much of our project consisted of literature review; we worked closely with the theory of Seymour Papert, Jean Piaget, and Sherry Turkle. We also used the work of current engineering education scholars to understand the benefits of hands-on learning, gender and race biases as they exist in most STEM fields, and current secondary STEM curriculum. My research partners and I all came from different academic backgrounds, so we were able to synthesize our personal experiences with the research we found in an interesting and complex way. Our work culminated in a paper and poster presentation titled "An Investigation of Rube Goldberg Machines as Tools for the Integration of Playful Exploration, Cooperation, and Access in Secondary STEM Education.