Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

STEAM Camp: Teaching Middle School Students Mathematics, Science and Coding through Digital Designs

Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Online-First Articles, pp. 47-67
OPEN ACCESS VIEWS: 30 DOWNLOADS: 7 Publication date: 15 Jun 2023
In this study, we explore how to teach mathematics, science and coding through digital tools, design projects, and global competencies. We explore the question: How do upper elementary school children develop an understanding of mathematics and science coupled with coding through digital design? The theoretical framework adopted for this study is Kafai and Burke’s (2014) definition of Computational Participation: a shift from code to actual applications; a shift from tools to communities; a shift from starting from scratch to remixing; and a shift from screens to tangibles. We conducted a qualitative case study interlinked with Design-Based Research. Both STEAM camps were an outreach program for students in grades 4-8 in Ontario, Canada. The two camps were designed and facilitated by a research team from the Faculty of Education. The research team developed the curriculum through an iterative process (design-test-revise-repeat).  There were 43 students registered in the STEAM camps, and 34 of them participated in the study. We collected observation, interviews, audio/video recordings, and survey data as well as pictures of the students’ work. Our main findings were that students were provided with opportunities to: 1) develop a deeper understanding of curricular concepts; 2) engage more with the digital tools when they were remixing, improving, and reimaging the design; and 3) apply their knowledge to global competencies. The findings of this research have implications for improvements in researching, designing, and implementing design projects as part of a pedagogical approach to teaching mathematics and science, coupled with coding, in an interdisciplinary context.
Mathematics education, Science education, Coding, Computational participation, Global competencies, STEAM education
Bertrand, M. G., Namukasa, I. K., & Li, L. (2023). STEAM Camp: Teaching Middle School Students Mathematics, Science and Coding through Digital Designs. Journal of Research in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education.
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