Engineering-based modelling experiences of elementary gifted students: An example of bridge construction

Karatas-Aydin F. I., IŞIKSAL BOSTAN M.

Thinking Skills and Creativity, vol.47, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.tsc.2023.101237
  • Journal Name: Thinking Skills and Creativity
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, EBSCO Education Source, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: Differentiation, Engineering design process, Elementary school, Gifted students, STEM education, STEM INTEGRATION, DESIGN, SCIENCE, TEACHERS, IMPACT
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2023 Elsevier LtdBackground: Integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in elementary classrooms has gained more attention with the current educational reforms. In this integration, finding ways to improve STEM knowledge and develop appropriate learning activities, and instructional strategies have been a challenge for educators. Although the similarities between gifted and engineering education have been emphasized, they have been not fully considered. Purpose: This study attempted to show how STEM knowledge appears in elementary gifted students’ planning, constructing, and reflecting phases of “Bridge Construction” activity. This study also aimed to investigate the occurrences of engineering habits of mind when gifted students engaged in the activity. Design/method: The current study employed the case study design. The data were collected through design sketches, students’ worksheets, audio and video recordings of the whole process. Results: Findings of this study revealed that gifted students applied STEM disciplinary knowledge to plan, construct and reflect on their bridges considering the constraints of the problem. The properties of shapes and data interpretation (mathematics), stability, balance, and properties of the materials (science) and engineering techniques were apparent in their overall engineering design process. In addition, the findings from the current study revealed that gifted students displayed all aspects of engineering habits of mind when they engaged in engineering-based model eliciting activity. Conclusions: The findings suggest that engineering-based model eliciting activity can be an effective tool to differentiate the instruction for gifted students.