The Effects of a Technological Problem Solving Activity on FIRST LEGO League Participants' Problem Solving Style and Performance
Varnado, Terri E.
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This study investigated the effects of a technological problem solving activity, specifically the 2004 No Limits FIRSTâ ¢ LEGOâ ¢ League Robotics Challenge, on student participantsâ problem solving styles and performances. Previous research suggested that problem solving styles and performances could be influenced in children who are developing cognitively. Thirty-six 9-14 year old males and females were selected from officially registered FLL teams in the Virginia Department of Education Regions 6 & 7 of Southwest Virginia. Student participants self-assessed their technological problem solving confidence, approach/avoidance styles, and personal control during said activity three times over an eight week period. Two raters directly observed four dimensions of technological problem solving (problem clarification, developing a design, modeling/prototyping, and evaluating the design solution) at four points during the same eight-week time frame. Simple ANOVA, Repeated Measures ANOVA, MANOVA, Regression Analyses, and Qualitative Analyses were used to analyze the data. Female FLL student participants aged 9-14 perceived their overall technological problem solving style no differently than did 9-14 year old males. Gender alone showed no significant differences in performance; however, without any formal training or coursework, 9-14 year old FLL student participants showed significant increases in confidence, overall technological problem solving styles, problem clarification, developing a design, evaluating a design solution, and overall technological problem solving performance in only eight weeks.
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