STEM Project-Based Learning with Product Design Activities

Saturday, February 13, 2016
Masashi Miura, Tottori University, Tottori, Japan
It is generally agreed today that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education are very important for fostering of innovative human resources. For achieving effective STEM education, interdisciplinary and applied approaches are necessary. That is to say, in STEM education, the four disciplines should be integrated into a cohesive learning rather than they are taught as separate and discrete subject. Then project-based learning (PBL) could be the best suited method to STEM education. In PBL program, students can learn STEM through the experience of project solving interdisciplinary and practically. Innovation Center for Engineering Education (ICEE) of Tottori University provides STEM PBL programs for students in Faculty of Engineering. In the program, students try to design products and make prototype models under specific subjects. The subjects are offered from collaborating organizations. They are mainly local companies including NPOs and sometimes local governments. One of the typical subjects is developing a new product using seeds of the collaborating organization. Another example is designing a new product which can solve problems of the collaborating organization. Through product design activities, students can practice and learn STEM. In some subjects, they should calculate the structural strength or radio wave intensity. In other subjects, they should design control system or power provide system with theoretical calculations. Engineering designing processes enable students to learn STEM effectively and deeply. Educational staffs of ICEE (the author is one of them) have developed and practiced the educational programs of STEM PBL. Moreover, we have tried to systematize and organize the teaching methods and evaluation methods for STEM PBL with product design activities. In this poster, STEM PBL programs developed by ICEE, practical examples of product design activities, teaching/ evaluation methods we’ve suggested and results of evaluation are introduced.