Miha Ambrož, Johannes Pernaa, Outi Haatainen and Maija Aksela
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 3278
We describe a master’s level chemistry education course that was designed to support STEM education by strengthening the E component with an engineering approach. Engineering approach is a method of conducting projects systematically similar to professional engineers. In the course, the future chemistry teachers were given the task of building a measurement instrument using a single-board computer (SBC). In addition to course description, we present a pilot study, the aim of which was to explore the opportunities and challenges the engineering approach initiates with pre-service chemistry teachers trying to accomplish a SBC-based open engineering project. The study employed a qualitative research approach, using the course as the data collection platform. The collected data was analyzed using an inductive content analysis. The data analysis shows that an open SBC project is a good platform for learning and teaching future chemistry teachers about chemistry-driven STEM education, but it is very challenging to conduct. The main conclusion is that the engineering approach is a practical solution for strengthening the engineering in STEM education. To generalize these findings to a wider context, we suggest further research to improve the course using this study’s results and re-evaluate the approach in a new instance of the course.