In the past few decades, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education has become a driving force for innovators throughout the world (Atkinson & Mayo, 2010; Bybee, 2010). STEM education has also become an economic factor in developing countries (Kennedy & Odell, 2014). Currently, many countries are struggling with how to effectively promote STEM education. The United States (U.S.) provides an interesting case study. Despite being one of the global economic leaders, it is behind in STEM education compared to other nations (Atkinson & Mayo, 2010; Dugger, 2010). STEM education helps to build world leaders including marketable and knowledgeable employees because it teaches and exposes students to problems in the real world, especially in their community (Brown, Brown, Reardon, & Merrill, 2011; Gomez & Albrecht, 2013). Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to answer the question: how does designing and implementing an engineering-based unit of instruction impact student attitudes toward engineering for 6th graders? The method for implementing more engineering consisted of teaching a unit based around mechanical engineering, civil engineering, city planning, and public health to 6th graders. The heart of the unit was an activity that allowed the students to make electric bikes by engaging in the engineering processes of hands-on learning and problem-solving, while evaluating transportation to and from school. The data was collected using two methods. The first used a survey instrument called the Technology and Engineering Attitudes Scale (TEAS), the second method involved observing and interviewing the participants. The results reveal that student interest in engineering increased after participating in the study. Another key finding is that with more engineering experience, student confidence for problem-solving and engineering activities increased.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





STEM, education, engineering, attitudes, electric bikes, TEAS



Included in

Engineering Commons