Integrated STEM in Elementary Grades Using Distributed Agent-based Computation

Pratim Sengupta, Gokul Krishnan, Mason Wright


We investigate how the integration of visual agent-based programming and computationally augmented physical structures can support curricular integration across STEM domains for elementary grade students. We introduce ViMAP-Tangible, a socio-technically distributed computational learning environment, which integrates ultrasonic sensors with the ViMAP visual programming language using a distributed computation infrastructure. In this paper, we report a study in which 3rd and 4th grade students used ViMAP-Tangible to engage in collaborative design-based activities in order to invent "drawing machines'' for generating geometric shapes. The curricular activities integrate engineering practices such as user-centered design, mathematical reasoning about multiplication, rates and fractions, and physical science concepts central to learning Newtonian mechanics. We identify the key affordances of the learning environment and our pedagogical approach in terms of the relationship between the structural elements of students’ physical constructions and computational models, and their learning outcomes, both in terms of computational thinking, and the domain-specific, mathematical and scientific knowledge that they began developing.


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Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Sengupta P., Krishnan G. and Wright M. (2014). Integrated STEM in Elementary Grades Using Distributed Agent-based Computation . In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU, ISBN 978-989-758-021-5, pages 67-78. DOI: 10.5220/0004949500670078

in Bibtex Style

author={Pratim Sengupta and Gokul Krishnan and Mason Wright},
title={Integrated STEM in Elementary Grades Using Distributed Agent-based Computation},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU,},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU,
TI - Integrated STEM in Elementary Grades Using Distributed Agent-based Computation
SN - 978-989-758-021-5
AU - Sengupta P.
AU - Krishnan G.
AU - Wright M.
PY - 2014
SP - 67
EP - 78
DO - 10.5220/0004949500670078