Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Molly Fisher


Engineering education as part of the K-12 curriculum can be an effective instructional tool and its benefits include improved science and mathematical achievement as well as an increased interest and understanding of the engineering field, especially for female students. However, there is a serious lack of research-based engineering curriculum being used at the middle and high school levels and lessons most often rely on building or construction competitions. Over the past decade or two, many well-known colleges have implemented a reverse engineering instructional unit known as Disassemble/Analyze/Assemble projects within their introductory engineering courses. These units have been shown to improve students’ understanding of mechanical and technical processes as well as increase students’ engineering interest and motivation, especially for female students.

The purpose of this study is to implement at the high school level a Disassemble/Analyze/Assemble (DAA) project using computers, handheld fans, and LED lights and to determine if and how this unit affects female students’ self-efficacy, science and engineering interest and career aspirations. Using Social Cognitive Theory for the theoretical framework, nine female students were chosen for the study using stratified purposeful sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted before and after the DAA unit. Data was analyzed using an a priori directed approach to content analysis described by Hseih and Shannon (2005).

This research study showed that the DAA unit appeared to increase female students’ science/engineering self-efficacy and interest as the unit provided multiple opportunities for the students to problem solve and make cognitive connections with previously learned science concepts. Students did not show any changes in their career considerations after the DAA unit. There was no statistically significant difference between the male and female mean scores on the Purdue Spatial Visual Test: Rotations (Guay, 1976; Yoon, 2011). KEYWORDS: Engineering Education, Science Education, Engineering Interest, Science Self-Efficacy, Science Interest

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)