Mathematics As A Gatekeeper to Engineering: The Interplay Between Mathematical And Design Thinking

Research Questions:

  • How do students respond to open-ended, ambiguous design task?
  • How do students thinking processes differ based on differences in mathematics, design and engineering backgrounds?
  • How do students’ thinking processes differ based on difference in attitudes towards and beliefs about mathematics, design and engineering?

Activity and Sample:
First–year Engineering Students and Senior Engineering, Design, Mathematics Students

Frameworks, Instruments, and Analysis:
Data collection/framework: Think-Aloud Protocol, Design Task Artifacts, Transcribed Interview Responses
Analysis: Critical Incident Analysis using Video Data and Transcripts
All pilot participants focused more on design related aspects during the first hour.

Preliminary Results:
The senior students seemed to have a more developed strategy for approaching design tasks.
The participants applied varying mathematical practices and knowledge to the task.