Narrative Elements in Museum-Based Engineering

This project systematically investigates whether and how narrative elements of engineering design activities can influence engagement with those activities. The goal is to build evidence-based guidance for exhibit and program development and for facilitation of engineering design activities that can provide equitable, effective engineering design experiences for girls, who are often weakly engaged by challenge-based engineering design activities.

The design-based research component of this project will be conducted in the context of the development and testing of six new engineering design activities in NYSCI’s Design Lab. The NYSCI development team will create two parallel versions of each activity, one with narrative elements and one without. By testing each pair of activities, the research team from the Creativity Labs will be able to refine their understanding of the kinds of narrative elements that most effectively invite girls into sustained engagement with the core engineering concepts and practices highlighted in each activity.

These activities, and emerging findings from the design-based research, will be vetted and discussed with collaborators from two other science museums that also lead drop-in engineering design activities.

A collaborative effort between the New York Hall of Science, the Amazeum in Bentonville, AR, the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA, and Kylie Peppler’s Creativity Labs, support for this project comes from the National Science Foundation.

Project Lead: Kylie Peppler