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Engineering in Pre-College Settings: Synthesizing Research, Policy, and Practices

ŞENAY PURZER
JOHANNES STROBEL
MONICA E. CARDELLA
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Purdue University Press
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wq7bh
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  • Book Info
    Engineering in Pre-College Settings
    Book Description:

    In science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in pre-college, engineering is not the silent “e” anymore. There is an accelerated interest in teaching engineering in all grade levels. Structured engineering programs are emerging in schools as well as in out-of-school settings. Over the last ten years, the number of states in the US including engineering in their K-12 standards has tripled, and this trend will continue to grow with the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. The interest in pre-college engineering education stems from three different motivations. First, from a workforce pipeline or pathway perspective, researchers and practitioners are interested in understanding precursors, influential and motivational factors, and the progression of engineering thinking. Second, from a general societal perspective, technological literacy and understanding of the role of engineering and technology is becoming increasingly important for the general populace, and it is more imperative to foster this understanding from a younger age. Third, from a STEM integration and education perspective, engineering processes are used as a context to teach science and math concepts. This book addresses each of these motivations and the diverse means used to engage with them. Designed to be a source of background and inspiration for researchers and practitioners alike, this volume includes contributions on policy, synthesis studies, and research studies to catalyze and inform current efforts to improve pre-college engineering education. The book explores teacher learning and practices, as well as how student learning occurs in both formal settings, such as classrooms, and informal settings, such as homes and museums. This volume also includes chapters on assessing design and creativity.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-357-2
    Subjects: Education, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-x)
    Greg Pearson

    I have been involved for almost 15 years in projects related in one way or another to K-12 engineering education. Through my work at the National Academy of Engineering, I have come to know a great many engineers, engineering educators, K-12 educators, and education researchers. It is largely through these connections that I have developed an appreciation for the value of engineering “habits of mind” and for the opportunities engineering education can provide young learners by engaging them in activities that matter to them, their peers, families, communities, and the world at large. Although the potential value of K-12 engineering...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Şenay Purzer, Johannes Strobel and Monica E. Cardella
  5. PART I. Current State of Engineering Education Research and Practice
    • CHAPTER 1 THE RISING PROFILE OF STEM LITERACY THROUGH NATIONAL STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS
      (pp. 3-20)
      Cary Sneider and Şenay Purzer

      In the past ten years in the United States there has been increasing discussion about replacing nation’s focus on science and mathematics education with a broader curriculum on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for all K–12 students. A number of educators credit Judith A. Ramaley, a former director of the Education and Human Resources Division at the National Science Foundation (NSF), for coining the term. Before she took that job in 2001, the label was SMET , which was used in requests for grant proposals by NSF. In addition to sounding better, the change was made as part...

    • CHAPTER 2 K–12 ENGINEERING: THE MISSING CORE DISCIPLINE
      (pp. 21-34)
      Ioannis Miaoulis

      We live in a human-made world. From the moment we wake up, until we lie down to sleep, we are immersed in technologies. The faucet we use to wash our face, the toothbrush we use to clean our teeth, the clothes we wear, the car we drive, our office or school, our home, and even the mattress we sleep on, all are the results of engineering processes. The water we drink has undergone an engineered purification process. The food we eat is the result of countless engineering technologies. If you are reading this inside of a building, take a moment...

    • CHAPTER 3 IMPLEMENTATION AND INTEGRATION OF ENGINEERING IN K–12 STEM EDUCATION
      (pp. 35-60)
      Tamara J. Moore, Micah S. Stohlmann, Hui-Hui Wang, Kristina M. Tank, Aran W. Glancy and Gillian H. Roehrig

      The problems that we face in our ever-changing, increasingly global society are multidisciplinary, and many require the integration of multiple STEM concepts to solve them. These problems are the driving force behind national calls for more and stronger students in the pathways to enter STEM fields. However, attempts to solely motivate students to enter current pathways into STEM fields are most likely not going to work. What is needed is a new trajectory to success. This trajectory should help the learner to develop understandings and abilities that are more consistent with the new kinds of mathematics/science/engineering thinking that are emerging...

    • CHAPTER 4 ENGINEERING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
      (pp. 61-88)
      Cathy P. Lachapelle and Christine M. Cunningham

      People today are immersed in the designed world. Engineering touches all aspects of our lives and has shown its ability and potential to change our quality of life dramatically, for better and for worse. Because of this, it is more important than ever to educate a global citizenry that both understands the designed world—how technologies are designed, manufactured, and disposed of; the resources expended on their use; and their effects on people and societies—and is empowered to influence as well as affect technological change.

      The elementary school level is key to accomplishing these very broad goals: to open...

    • CHAPTER 5 ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN THE MIDDLE GRADES
      (pp. 89-116)
      Tirupalavanam G. Ganesh and Christine G. Schnittka

      In this chapter we describe the potential that engineering design–based projects offer for enhancing learning in the middle grades. What makes engineering design–based projects particularly useful as motivational tools for enhancing learning in the middle grades? Research shows (e.g., Cummings & Taebel, 1980; Haladyna & Thomas, 1979; Osborne, Simon, & Collins, 2003) that it is in the middle grades that some students seem to be less motivated to learn science and mathematics. McCombs and Pope (1994) found that students who recognize learning as being personally meaningful and relevant, who do not have to worry about failure, and who have supportive and...

    • CHAPTER 6 DESIGNING ENGINEERING EXPERIENCES TO ENGAGE ALL STUDENTS
      (pp. 117-140)
      Christine M. Cunningham and Cathy P. Lachapelle

      The introduction of a “new” discipline—engineering—into K–12 education comes with both opportunities and responsibilities. One opportunity is that, as a new discipline for this age level, relatively few entrenched ways of operating currently exist; there is room to start fresh with an eye toward best practices. At the same time, engineering has a history at postsecondary levels in which certain groups have been traditionally marginalized or underrepresented in colleges, universities, and the workforce (Burke & Mattis, 2007). As we introduce engineering into K–12 education, we must work vigilantly to ensure from its inception that such patterns are...

  6. PART II. Research Studies with Teachers and Students
    • CHAPTER 7 EMBEDDING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SCIENCE INSTRUCTION IN ENGINEERING DESIGN PROBLEM SOLVING
      (pp. 143-162)
      Kristen Wendell, Amber Kendall, Merredith Portsmore, Christopher G. Wright, Linda Jarvin and Chris Rogers

      In this chapter, we consider the strategies and findings of our four-year exploration of embedding elementary school science instruction within engineering design challenges. In a collaboration of science education researchers, assessment specialists, and over 30 third- and fourth-grade teachers, we have developed and investigated four science curriculum units that pose overarching engineering design problems as contexts for exploring science concepts. These units make use of interlocking LEGO construction elements for prototyping solutions, and they invite students and teachers to explore design prototypes as objects of scientific inquiry.

      Our aim in this chapter is to use multiple forms of evidence to...

    • CHAPTER 8 TEACHERS’ CONCERNS IN IMPLEMENTING ENGINEERING INTO ELEMENTARY CLASSROOMS AND THE IMPACT OF TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
      (pp. 163-182)
      Jeongmin Lee and Johannes Strobel

      Integrating engineering into elementary classrooms is an innovative practice that promotes technological literacy (Cunningham, Lachapelle, & Lindgren-Streicher, 2006) and addresses the national concern about the shrinking STEM workforce (Nugent, Kunz, Rillet, & Jones, 2010). However, engineering does not seem to carry similar features as other innovations brought into the K–12 system; when science inquiry practices, for example, were strongly promoted and taught in professional development and pre-service education, the basis and foundation of science already had a strong presence in classrooms (Marx et al., 2004). Engineering seems to carry features of a quadruple innovation, namely, (1) it is a new content...

    • CHAPTER 9 BRIDGES AND BARRIERS TO CONSTRUCTING CONCEPTUAL COHESION ACROSS MODALITIES AND TEMPORALITIES: CHALLENGES OF STEM INTEGRATION IN THE PRE-COLLEGE ENGINEERING CLASSROOM
      (pp. 183-210)
      Candace A. Walkington, Mitchell J. Nathan, Matthew Wolfgram, Martha W. Alibali and Rachaya Srisurichan

      Engineers use science, but distinguish themselves from scientists. They do math, but do not identify themselves as mathematicians. They use and invent technology, but typically reject the title of technician. As a profession, engineers enjoy a complex relationship with the other STEM fields, having to demonstrate mastery with each of them, yet acting in a manner wholly distinct from any of them.

      There are many accounts of professional engineering work, but most are normative and prescriptive, stating what constitutes good and proper engineering, and how it should be taught (ABET, 2010; NRC, 2005). Empirical studies of the engineering process, though...

    • CHAPTER 10 HIGH SCHOOL PRE-ENGINEERING CURRICULA: ASSESSING TEACHER BELIEFS, INTENDED CURRICULUM, AND ENACTED INSTRUCTION
      (pp. 211-230)
      Amy C. Prevost, Mitchell J. Nathan and L. Allen Phelps

      The current educational policy context demands that we define an integrated STEM education pathway that encourages both a deep understanding of core academic subject areas and technical capabilities. For example, in the vast majority of U.S. high schools—those receiving federal funding for career and technical education—programs of studyare being implemented that integrate academic and technical subjects. These programs are available for students beginning in grade 11, culminating in postsecondary courses leading to college degrees and certificates in STEM and other high-demand, high-skill sectors. Moreover, Section 113 of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act Amendments employs a...

  7. PART III. Reviews and Synthesis of Research in Teacher Education
    • CHAPTER 11 IN-SERVICE TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION: EARLY YEARS
      (pp. 233-258)
      Heidi A. Diefes-Dux

      Two overarching goals for elementary engineering education emerge at the confluence of national documents such asChanging the Conversation(National Academy of Engineering [NAE ], 2008) andEngineering in K-12 Education(Katehi, Pearson, & Feder, 2009) and experience with providing professional development to elementary teachers. One, students should be exposed to the nature and practice of engineering such that they can develop “an accurate, more positive impression of engineering” (NAE , 2008, p. 1) and its impacts on our communities and world. That is, elementary students should be able to identify and discuss engineering in their world. They should also come...

    • CHAPTER 12 HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN ENGINEERING: RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
      (pp. 259-276)
      Jenny L. Daugherty and Rodney L. Custer

      Engineering at the K–12 level aims to provide students with authentic learning contexts largely centered on design, analysis, and troubleshooting (Brophy, Klein, Portsmore, & Rogers, 2008). Several curriculum projects have emerged to infuse engineering into K–12 classrooms. For example, two of the largest, and perhaps well-known, projects are Engineering is Elementary (focused at the elementary level) and Project Lead the Way (focused at the middle and high school levels). These and similar initiatives have associated teacher professional development programs; however, as of yet, few empirical studies have been published documenting the impact of the teacher professional development on either...

    • CHAPTER 13 ENGINEERING IN PRE-SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION
      (pp. 277-300)
      Steve O’Brien, John Karsnitz, Suriza Van Der Sandt, Laura Bottomley and Elizabeth Parry

      The inclusion of engineering content has grown rapidly in all levels of K–12 over the past ten years. For example, in K–5 grades Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum has reached over five million students and 65,000 teachers, and is being used in all 50 states. Similarly, in grades 6–12, Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum has reached over 400,000 students in over 5,000 schools in all 50 states. Engineering by Design (EbD) has also developed design-based curriculum for use in secondary grades and has recently developed K–5 curriculum. More detailed descriptions of K–12 engineering curricula...

  8. PART IV. Assessing Design, Creativity, and Interest in Engineering
    • CHAPTER 14 ASSESSING DESIGN
      (pp. 303-314)
      Ming-Chien Hsu, Monica E. Cardella and Şenay Purzer

      Design is a distinguishing feature of engineering (Simon, 1996) and is integral to all engineering disciplines (Atman et al., 2005). Design is also multifaceted: exploratory, rhetorical, emergent, opportunistic, reflective, risky, and an important human endeavor (Cross, 1999). While design is a complex activity, it is also accessible and engaging for a wide range of learners, including children in preschool and elementary schools. For example, design is a central concept within the Engineering is Elementary curriculum currently in use on a national scale. Within this curriculum, design is taught as a process involving five main activities: asking, imagining, planning, creating, and...

    • CHAPTER 15 CREATIVITY ASSESSMENT: A NECESSARY CRITERION IN K–12 ENGINEERING EDUCATION
      (pp. 315-330)
      Eric L. Mann

      The creative individual has always been valued by society. The ability to see the world in new ways and to act on those visions to improve the human condition is the essence of engineering. The ability to be creative exists in everyone in varying degrees—a capacity to be nourished and developed. While creativity is an essential feature in all disciplines, it is commonly viewed through an aesthetic lens with the associated products in the fields of art, music, and literature. In many K–12 classrooms, creativity is unrewarded and discouraged in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as students...

    • CHAPTER 16 ASSESSING ENGINEERING KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIORS FOR RESEARCH AND PROGRAM EVALUATION PURPOSES
      (pp. 331-342)
      Monica E. Cardella, Noah Salzman, Şenay Purzer and Johannes Strobel

      As engineering becomes more and more prevalent in K–12 classrooms and in out-of-school settings, it is important to review the role of assessment in engineering education. Other chapters in this book have presented arguments for pre-college engineering education, teacher education, and engineering learning in both schools and out-of-school settings. However, the development and use of quality instruments is necessary to support many of these arguments for promoting pre-college engineering education. Hence, in this chapter, we review

      1. the process of assessment and instrument development;

      2. the types of engineering knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that should be assessed; and

      3. the critical role...

  9. PART V. Engineering Beyond the Classroom
    • CHAPTER 17 ENGINEERING AT HOME
      (pp. 345-362)
      Brianna Dorie and Monica E. Cardella

      Learning does not stop once the bell rings for dismissal, nor is it limited to just the classroom. Children do not turn off their brains once they go home (as some might believe); instead children are constantly learning through a rich variety of external and internal sources. When a child picks up a book on architecture to read from the library, goes to the museum to see the latest new exhibit on technology in the movies, completes a maze in a magazine, or plays with blocks, they are engaging in learning experiences that have the potential to contribute to their...

    • CHAPTER 18 ENGINEERING LEARNING IN MUSEUMS: CURRENT TRENDS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS
      (pp. 363-382)
      Gina N. Svarovsky

      Informal science learning environments can play a significant role in attracting young people to engineering-oriented careers by providing access to powerful and transformative experiences that can contribute to a lifelong interest in a wide range of STEM topics. As other chapters in this volume have described, children can often engage deeply in STEM learning—and in particular, engineering learning—through a variety of informal learning experiences, such as books, competitions, afterschool clubs, television shows, and interactions with family and friends. This chapter will present information about a different type of informal science learning context: thedesignedsetting (Bell, Lewenstein, & Shouse,...

    • CHAPTER 19 P–12 ROBOTICS COMPETITIONS: BUILDING MORE THAN JUST ROBOTS—BUILDING 21ST-CENTURY THINKING SKILLS
      (pp. 383-398)
      Anita G. Welch and Douglas Huffman

      Robotics competitions provide opportunities for students to engage in interactive environments in which science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are transformed from what are often viewed as artificial principles in the classroom into authentic and stimulating learning experiences. While some teachers organize robotics programs as extracurricular activities, teachers can integrate elements of the competitions into STEM-related courses, as well as into a variety of other courses, such as finance and marketing.

      Participation in robotics competitions also engages students in a team environment, requiring members to work together toward common goals. Limitations of time, money, and resources simulate real-world pressures, add...

    • CHAPTER 20 ENGINEERING KIDS’ LIVES: THE ART OF DELIVERING MESSAGES
      (pp. 399-416)
      Nancy Linde, Marisa Wolsky and Tamecia Jones

      “What inspired you to become a scientist?” That question was put to nearly 150 notable scientists, engineers, and mathematicians by the Internet magazineSpikedin 2006. The respondents hailed from all corners of the globe, ranged in age from 19 to 93, and represented the full scope of experience from new talent to Nobel laureates (spiked-online.com). While the answers are as diverse as the individuals who provided them, certain patterns emerged. Many, of course, credited superb schoolteachers with igniting the spark that led to a life in STEM. But an almost equal number pointed to non-teacher mentors and informal science...

  10. PART VI. The Future of Pre-College Engineering Education
    • CHAPTER 21 LOOKING AHEAD
      (pp. 419-426)
      Monica E. Cardella, Şenay Purzer and Johannes Strobel

      There is an exciting path ahead of us as national interest in pre-college engineering education continues to grow throughout the world and in the U.S. in particular. The interest in pre-college engineering education stems from four different motivations: (1) from a workforce pipeline or pathway perspective, where researchers and practitioners are interested in understanding influential and motivational factors that promote students’ interest in engineering and progression of engineering thinking such that people pursue engineering degrees and engineering careers; (2) from a general societal perspective, where technological literacy and understanding of the role of engineering and technologies in society is increasingly...

  11. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 427-438)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 439-457)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 458-458)