Scientific Inquiry in Middle Schools by combining Computational Thinking, Wet Lab Experiments, and Liquid Handling Robots

Tamar Fuhrmann, Deeana Ijaz Ahmed, Len Arikson, Mike Wirth, Mark L. Miller, Ethan Li, Amy Lam, Paulo Blikstein, Ingmar Riedel-Kruse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Computational thinking (CT) is necessary for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) literacy, but it can be difficult for many students to develop and it is challenging to integrate into science curricula. Here, we present a five-session curriculum where sixth-grade students programmed a Liquid Handling Robot (LHR) to conduct a science experiment while engaging in CT. We used a mixed-methods approach to assess how the curricular integration of robotics and science experimentation advances students' CT skills and perceptions of computation in science. We identified growth in CT skills, specifically regarding Algorithmic Thinking. Students identified as key advantages of this approach the increased precision in experimental procedures, time-efficiency, and easier debugging. This course provides a proof of concept curriculum on how the implications for teaching and learning of CT can be assessed, and how CT and robotics can be brought to science classrooms, especially for chemistry and biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages444-449
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384520
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 24 2021
Event2021 ACM Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2021 - Virtual, Online, Greece
Duration: Jun 24 2021Jun 30 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2021

Conference

Conference2021 ACM Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2021
Country/TerritoryGreece
CityVirtual, Online
Period6/24/216/30/21

Keywords

  • computational literacy
  • Computational thinking
  • hands-on experimentation
  • robotics
  • science labs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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