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Student Perceptions of Engineering Based Upon Board Game Participation
2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (2018)
  • Alexis Basantis, Rowan University
  • Megan DiPietroantonio
  • Amy B. Geary, Rowan University
  • Melanie V. Ware, Rowan University
  • Kaitlin Mallouk, Rowan University
  • Cheryl A. Bodnar, Rowan University
The current undergraduate populations within engineering institutions are not an accurate representation of the general population and, as such, we are missing perspectives that would benefit the overall progression of the field. One of the reasons for the narrowing engineering pipeline is the infrequent exposure to engineering and engineering related principles during formative middle school years. These years are known to be a critical time to attract students into STEM fields; if students do not choose courses appropriately at this time, they could find themselves at a disadvantage for pursuing STEM careers later in their lives.

One possible explanation for the lack of exposure to engineering and related principles is that teachers do not have the necessary training to feel comfortable teaching technical material and may not have techniques for presenting it in an engaging manner. Male and female students also learn STEM related content differently which can increase the difficulty in presenting these materials to students. One method that could be used to assist with introducing engineering to middle school students is applying game-based approaches. Game-based learning has been shown to have neutral to positive outcomes on its ability to convey technical engineering content to undergraduate engineering students and has had great success within both middle and high schools. It has also been found to be overwhelmingly useful for engaging students in the learning experience.

This study sought to determine the impact of a newly developed board game for exposing middle school students to engineering content. More specifically, the study asked whether game-based learning is an effective means of introducing engineering to middle school students. A group of undergraduate engineering students, representing diverse disciplines, developed a new board game called “A Tour Through Four”. The board game provided background on four key disciplines within engineering (mechanical, chemical, electrical and civil) while providing students with informative facts on the roles that women have served as engineers. Game play consisted of responding to trivia questions as well as completing hands-on kinesthetic challenges.

To determine the effectiveness of the board game for introducing engineering principles, middle school students (n=20) participating in an after school program were provided the opportunity to play the new board game. After the game was completed, students were provided with an open-ended feedback form to complete. Researchers performed a content analysis of the student responses to the question “Recall something you have learned or something that stood out to you while playing this game. Did anything you have learned or experienced change your view of engineering?” as it most closely related to their proposed research question. Reliability analysis of the coded responses showed strong agreement above chance with Cohen’s Kappa values greater than 0.750. Three themes were identified in the data collected (1) engineering principles, (2) women in engineering and (3) career pathways. The results show promise that the board game developed can create a positive exposure to engineering and its career potential for middle school students.
Publication Date
June 27, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT
Citation Information
Alexis Basantis, Megan DiPietroantonio, Amy B. Geary, Melanie V. Ware, et al.. "Student Perceptions of Engineering Based Upon Board Game Participation" 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (2018)
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