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As our nation’s need for engineering professionals grows, a sharp rise in P-12 engineering education programs and related research has taken place (Brophy, Klein, Portsmore, & Rogers, 2008; Purzer, Strobel, & Cardella, 2014). The associated research has focused primarily on students’ perceptions and motivations, teachers’ beliefs and knowledge, and curricula and program success. The existing research has expanded our understanding of new K-12 engineering curriculum development and teacher professional development efforts, but empirical data remain scarce on how racial and ethnic diversity of student population influences teaching methods, course content, and overall teachers’ experiences. In particular, Hynes et al. (2017) note in their systematic review of P-12 research that little attention has been paid to teachers’ experiences with respect to racially and ethnically diverse engineering classrooms. The growing attention and resources being committed to diversity and inclusion issues (Lichtenstein, Chen, Smith, & Maldonado, 2014; McKenna, Dalal, Anderson, & Ta, 2018; NRC, 2009) underscore the importance of understanding teachers’ experiences with complementary research-based recommendations for how to implement engineering curricula in racially diverse schools to engage all students. Our work examines the experiences of three high school teachers as they teach an introductory engineering course in geographically and distinctly different raciallymore »
We worked with local K–6 teachers to develop lesson plans that would connect a 50-minute engineering design challenge, completed during a field trip, to the students’ classroom learning. The result was a model for designing pre-visit classroom activities that develop students’ familiarity with phenomena, tools, and processes that will be used during the field trip and post-visit classroom activities that provide students with opportunities to reflect on some of their field trip experiences. While the field trip activity alone is an exciting and productive learning opportunity, students who complete the full set of classroom and field trip activities participate in a richer experience that engages them in more of the practices of science and engineering and more fully develops the disciplinary core ideas related to engineering and physical science. Each Engineering Exploration module includes four activities: an engineering design activity completed during a field trip to an interactive science museum, accompanied by two preactivities and one post activity done in students’ classroom and facilitated by their elementary school teacher. While each classroom activity was designed to take no more than 50 minutes, many teachers found it valuable to extend each lesson to allow for deeper discussion and engagement with themore »
This study investigates how teachers verbally support students to engage in integrated engineering, science, and computer science activities across the implementation of an engineering project. This is important as recent research has focused on understanding how precollege students’ engagement in engineering practices is supported by teachers (Watkins et al., 2018) and the benefits of integrating engineering in precollege classes, including improved achievement in science, ability to engage in science and engineering practices inherent to engineering (i.e., engineering design), and increased awareness of engineering (National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council; Katehi et al., 2009). Further, there is a national emphasis on integrating engineering, science, and computer science practices and concepts in science classrooms (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Yet little research has considered how teachers implement these disciplines together within one classroom, particularly elementary teachers who often have little prior experience in teaching engineering and may need support to integrate engineering design into elementary science classroom settings. In particular, this study explores how elementary teachers verbally support science and computer science concepts and practices to be implicitly and explicitly integrated into an engineering project by implementing support intended by curricular materials and/or adding their own verbal support. Implicit usemore »
Integration of engineering into middle school science and mathematics classrooms is a key aspect of STEM integration. However, successful pedagogies for teachers to use engineering talk in their classrooms are not fully understood.
This study aims to address this need with the research question: How does a middle school life science teacher use engineering talk during an engineering design‐based STEM integration unit?
This case study examined the talk of a teacher whose students demonstrated high levels of learning in science and engineering throughout a three‐year professional development program. Transcripts of whole‐class verbal interactions for 18 class periods in the life science‐based STEM integration unit were analyzed using a theoretical framework based on the Framework for Quality K‐12 Engineering Education.
The teacher used talk to integrate engineering in a variety of ways, skillfully weaving engineering throughout the unit. He framed lessons around problem scoping, incorporated engineering ideas into scientific verbal interactions, and aligned individual lessons and the overall unit with the engineering design process. He stayed true to the context of the engineering challenge and treated the students as young engineers.
This teacher's talk helped to integrate engineering with the science and mathematics content of the unit and modeled themore »
Partnering to Develop a Coordinated Engineering Education Program Across Schools, Museum Field Trips, and Afterschool ProgramsEngineering Explorations are curriculum modules that engage children across contexts in learning about science and engineering. We used them to leverage multiple education sectors (K–12 schools, museums, higher education, and afterschool programs) across a community to provide engineering learning experiences for youth, while increasing local teachers’ capacity to deliver high-quality engineering learning opportunities that align with school standards. Focusing on multiple partners that serve youth in the same community provides opportunities for long-term collaborations and programs developed in response to local needs. In a significant shift from earlier sets of standards, the Next Generation Science Standards include engineering design, with the goal of providing students with a foundation “to better engage in and aspire to solve the major societal and environmental challenges they will face in decades ahead” (NGSS Lead States 2013, Appendix I). Including engineering in K–12 standards is a positive step forward in introducing students to engineering; however, K–12 teachers are not prepared to facilitate high-quality engineering activities. Research has consistently shown that elementary teachers are not confident in teaching science, especially physical science, and generally have little knowledge of engineering (Trygstad 2013). K–12 teachers, therefore, will need support. Our goal was to create a program that tookmore »