Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Conference Name

2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, June 26-29, 2022, Minneapolis, Minnesota


This work-in-progress paper describes engineering students’ experiences in an NSF-funded project that partnered undergraduate engineering students with pre-service teachers to plan and deliver robotics lessons to fifth graders at a local school. This project aims to address an apparent gap between what is taught in academia and industry’s expectations of engineers to integrate perspectives from outside their field to solve modern societal problems requiring a multidisciplinary approach. Working in small teams over Zoom, participating engineering, education, and fifth grade students designed, built, and coded bio-inspired COVID companion robots. The goal for the engineering students was to build new interprofessional skills, while reinforcing technical skills. The collaborative activities included: (1) training with Hummingbird BitTM hardware (e.g. sensors, servo motors) and coding platform, (2) preparing robotics lessons for fifth graders that explained the engineering design process (EDP), and (3) guiding the fifth graders in the design of their robots. Additionally, each undergraduate engineering student designed a robot following the theme developed with their preservice teacher and fifth grade partners. The intervention took place in Spring 2021 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating the investigators to make critical decisions to address challenges of implementing the intervention in an online setting. This paper describes those decisions as it investigates how the cross-disciplinary, mixed-aged collaboration with preservice teachers and fifth graders impacted undergraduate engineering students’ learning and investment during the design process of their robots. Preliminary results of a regression analysis revealed a relationship between the engineering students’ robot rankings and post-scores on the design process knowledge survey (r = 0.92). Consistencies and a few anomalies in this pattern were explained using qualitative reflections which were analyzed to determine students’ level of investment in the project, overall perceptions, and the extent to which they focused on the fifth graders’ ideas in their designs. In general, robot quality was linked to both undergraduate engineering students’ level of investment and whether they focused on the fifth graders’ ideas in their designs. Engineering students’ overall perceptions of the project were generally positive, appreciating the role of cross-disciplinary and mixed-aged collaborations in their learning to brainstorm innovative solutions and interact effectively with professionals outside of engineering as they embark on tackling societal problems in the real world.


ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation:

© 2022 American Society for Engineering Education.

Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference.

Original Publication Citation

Kaipa, K., Kidd, J., Noginova, J., Cima, F., Ringleb, S., Ayala, O., Pazos, P., Gutierrez, K., & Lee, M. J. (2022). Can we make our robot play soccer? Influence of collaborating with preservice teachers and fifth graders on undergraduate engineering students’ learning during a robotic design process (work in progress). Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


0000-0003-3891-3975 (Noginova), 0000-0002-1453-2353 (Cima), 0000-0003-3376-0252 (Ringleb), 0000-0003-4348-7798 (Pazos), 0000-0002-9339-7574 (Gutierrez)