Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Reeves, Todd D.

Second Advisor

Xie, Ying

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA)


While there has never been a greater demand for STEM education, the U.S. is still struggling to define and implement this type of instruction. Identifying innovative and effective ways of improving STEM education in the K-12 environment is vital to the U.S. to remain economically viable on a global level. The multidisciplinary aspect of educational robotics facilitates an integrated approach to STEM learning which espouses the educational theories of Constructionism and Computational Thinking. The purpose of this study was to compare the cognitive and affective out-comes of participation in an integrated STEM curriculum based on educational robotics. The integrated STEM curriculum was a 10-12 session STEM unit using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robotics Construction Kits. This quasi-experimental study utilized a Nonequivalent Control Group Pretest/Posttest Design to investigate the extent to which cognitive and affective outcomes related to STEM subjects and attitudes differed between those who participated in this unit and those who did not. The research also examined whether or not outcomes varied by gender. The sample comprised fourth-grade elementary students (N=80) in a public school in a Chicago suburban school district. Two different instruments were used to measure cognitive and affective outcomes of the study; two-way ANCOVAs were utilized to evaluate the results of these measures. Results indicated that the intervention was associated with higher STEM Achievement and Perseverance. There were no statistically significant gender main effects or inter-action effects for either cognitive or affective outcomes. These findings will be useful in providing educators, administrators and curriculum designers with research-based knowledge about the efficacy of the integration of educational robotics into instruction with respect to providing a solid foundation for STEM learning and perseverance.

Keywords: STEM, STEM Education, Integrated STEM, Educational Robotics, Computational Thinking, Elementary Education


133 pages




Northern Illinois University

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