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  1. With programs like Project Lead The Way, engineering activities and curricula have increased in frequency in secondary school programs. In 2013, Next Generation Science Standards were published formalizing the importance of science and engineering practices in secondary schools as part of the ‘Three Dimensions of Science Learning’. For a typical secondary science department, the current engineering options can either be very expensive and/or very time consuming (often requiring engineering courses outside of traditional science courses). The purpose of a broader NSF-funded project is to create and evaluate a more accessible system for engaging students in one of the key components of engineering design: problem framing. This work presents one tool developed as part of that effort, the Need Identification Canvas (NIC), and the assessment methods developed for evaluating students’ engineering problem-framing skills using the NIC. The NIC is a tool for guiding novice designers through the need identification process, specifically addressing four key subcategories: stakeholders, stakeholder needs, a need statement, and information gathering. Student responses in each category were evaluated using a rubric, developed as part of this effort. The canvas has been implemented with suburban high school biology, chemistry, physics, and physical science classes (N=55) as well as first-yearmore »engineering students (N=18) at a private undergraduate university to provide a basis of comparison for the higher levels of achievement. In addition to comparisons between grade levels, secondary students that have and have not been taking supplemental engineering courses as part of their program of study were compared. Significant differences were found amongst a variety of these subgroups.« less
  2. As the importance to integrate engineering into K12 curricula grows so does the need to develop teachers’ engineering teaching capabilities and knowledge. One method that has been used to aid this development is engineering professional development programs. This evaluation paper presents the successes and challenges of an engineering professional development program for teachers focused around the use of engineering problem-framing design activities in high school science classrooms. These activities were designed to incorporate the cross-cutting ideas published in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and draw on best practices for instructional design of problem-framing activities from research on design and model-eliciting activities (MEAs). The professional development (PD) was designed to include the following researched-based effective PD key elements: (1) is content focused, (2) incorporates active learning, (3) supports collaboration, (4) uses models of effective practice, (5) provides coaching and expert support, (6) offers feedback and reflection, and (7) is of sustained duration. The engineering PD, including in-classroom deployment of activities and data collection, was designed as an iterative process to be conducted over a three-year period. This will allow for improvement and refinement of our approach. The first iteration, reported in this paper, consisted of seven high school science teachersmore »who have agreed to participate in the PD, implement the problem-framing activities, and collect student data over a period of one year. The PD itself consisted of the teachers comparing science and engineering, participating in problem-framing training and activities, and developing a design challenge scenario for their own courses. The participating teachers completed a survey at the end of the PD that will be used to inform enhancement of the PD and our efforts to recruit additional participants in the following year. The qualitative survey consisted of open-ended questions asking for the most valuable takeaways from the PD, their reasoning for joining the PD, reasons they would or would not recommend the PD, and, in their opinion, what would inspire their colleagues to attend the PD. The responses to the survey along with observations from the team presenting the PD were analyzed to identify lessons learned and future steps for the following iteration of the PD. From the data, three themes emerged: Development of PD, Teacher Motivation, and Teacher Experience.« less