- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758443
- First Name Jill
- Last Name Cochran
- Institution Berry College
- Role/Position PI
- Workshop Category Track 1: Scholarships and Stipends
- Workshop Disciplines Audience Chemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics
- Target Audience Noyce Master Teachers, Noyce Teaching Fellows, Undergraduate and/or Graduate Noyce Scholars
- Topics Resources for Teachers, STEM Content Area and/or Convergent Description Skills Development
- Session Length 75 minutes minutes
- Additional Presenter(s)
Cody Gordon, email@example.com
Participants will be able to articulate the important of 3D representations to STEM learning. They will design simple objects using three different 3D representations and then compare them to each other and given rubrics. Participants will receive small tasks and full lessons designed to improve students’ skills related to 3D representations.
Data collection and analysis was completed in a joint undergraduate research project with a Noyce Scholar and PI for our Noyce grant. In a study designed in collaboration with undergraduate pre-service teachers, we examined the research question: What order of 3D modeling activities is most effective for students’ development of the ability to create models of 3D objects? We asked students in 29 classes, first through ninth grades (odd grades only), in six public and private schools to do the following tasks. They were asked to represent three objects ranging from simple to complex: a cube, an observed cube with a corner missing, and an imagined bench each using three different representations in a random order: building with cubes, drawing on paper, and designing using simple 3D computer software. Rubrics were created for all tasks from pilot data across two 3-point scales: accuracy in representation of the assigned object and three-dimensionality. Each of the 512 students’ drawings, computer designs, and buildings were evaluated by at least two trained reviewers. Discrepancies in scores were discussed and then evaluated by a third reviewer and these scores were averaged. Based on statistical analysis, we decided to further explore students’ computer designs and drawings that scored above average on one and below average on the other, coding them for common issues and similarities.
While the importance of 3D representations is relatively well documented, especially in STEM fields, how students develop these skills is not. Through design tasks, we found that students develop the skills required to accurately draw 3D objects slower than either building or designing them on a computer. The ability to draw objects that both look 3D and representative of the given object improved significantly with each grade level. On the other hand, even as early as first grade, students are proficient at building 3D objects from blocks. We examined the order in which students were randomly assigned to complete the different types of representations. Our research question was stated with the intention of determining, for example, if students would perform better on drawing an object after having built that object. Statistical tests suggest that students create better designs on the computer if they have not drawn or built it first. Beyond examining the order of representations, we compared student responses based on additional information. In one surprising result, students with computer design experience showed more proficiency with all representations compared to students without this experience. This suggests an overall better understanding of 3D objects. Teachers can conclude from the results of this study that being able to effectively represent 3D objects in one way does not translate into ability with other representations. Finally, the development of 3D representations as ways of visualizing the structure of objects and the world around us, has interdisciplinary implications in math, art and technology education.