Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education



First Advisor

Patty Born Selly


Curriculum and Instruction


The intent of this study was to determine how implementing developmentally appropriate engineering challenges in a first grade classroom could positively impact the students’ levels of persistence, creativity and problem-solving. This study was conducted in a first grade classroom with 22 students located in a first-ring suburb of a major metropolitan area in Minnesota. Data collection methods included an engineering survey used to ascertain students’ knowledge of engineering and a student school attitude survey, both administered at the beginning and the end of the study, work completion tracked through a grade book, simple formative assessments, and teacher observations. The results showed a positive increase in self-esteem and attitudes towards school, engineering, and reading, as well as an increase in creativity and persistence. Students were actively engaged in the engineering design process. English language learners demonstrated an increased confidence in using their second language. While educators tend to neglect implementing engineering due to lack of training, materials and stresses of standardized testing, engineering design challenges rarely need special equipment and can be a simple extension of current units of study or trade books. In conclusion, young elementary school students can benefit from the inclusion of developmentally appropriate engineering projects.

Included in

Education Commons