Understanding Space Through Engineering Design investigates how engaging K-5 children from underrepresented populations in the design of packages, maps, and mechanisms supports the development of spatial reasoning and spatial mathematics. The prime conjecture is that engineering design makes spatial mathematics more tangible and purposeful, and that systematic support for spatial reasoning and mathematics, in turn, influences the nature of children's designs and their understanding of how those designs work.
About Me (Bio):
Megan Wongkamalasai is a doctoral student and advisee of Richard Lehrer in the Department of Learning, Teaching, and Diversity at Vanderbilt University studying mathematics education. Prior to her doctoral studies, she completed a B.S. in Cognitive Studies, Child Studies, and Early Childhood Education at Vanderbilt University. While working on her bachelor’s degree, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant on a project studying language development in young children and Lehrer’s project on middle school students’ development of statistical reasoning. After graduating, she taught kindergarten and second grade at a local elementary school. Since her return to Vanderbilt, she has worked on the DRK-12 project, “Understanding Space through Engineering Design.” This project is conducted in partnership with K-5 teachers in order to design mathematics instruction that informs the development of learning progressions around the science and mathematics of space. As part of the project, Megan is conducting an ongoing design study with a team of first-grade teachers to investigate how children’s 3D construction activities can be leveraged to co-develop students’ conceptions of mathematical transformations and engagement in mathematical practices.