Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Speculative design is a process of envisioning plausible futures - whether probable, possible, or preferable - that result in the creation of an artifact representing some aspect of that future. Research on speculative design with youth has demonstrated the various opportunities it creates for youth’s STEM engagement. Our research also shows learning opportunities at the convergence of science, design, and storytelling, particularly as speculative design requires coordinating between science and imagination to achieve plausibility. Speculative design can promote the development of agency beliefs (through youth’s creating solutions to anticipated problems, and worlds according to their visions of preferable futures); systems perceptions (by working out specific causes and effects through their design of stories and games, which are themselves systems); openness to alternatives (by developing potential future outcomes based on their assessment of today’s trends); and empathy (through their design of objects that would help people in the future). While ongoing research in this area might further explore ways to support learners in balancing content understanding with imagination in STEM contexts, it is within these limitless bounds that speculative design may allow youth to explore their passions, form identities, and build relationships with disciplinary ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmplifying Informal Science Learning
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking Research, Design, and Engagement
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781000901771
ISBN (Print)9780367702762
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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