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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects
Children Designing & Engineering
Children Designing & Engineering was a collaboration between the College of New Jersey’s Department of Technological Studies, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. With funding from the National Science Foundation, the project developed contextual learning units for children in grades K–2 and 3–5. Each unit is framed in the context of a prominent New Jersey business (i.e., Six Flags Wild Safari, Lucent Technologies, Marcal Paper, Public Service Electric and Water, Elizabethtown Water, Johnson & Johnson, Ocean Spray). They are designed to run from four to six weeks (or 15 to 22 hours), and they begin with a design challenge that must be addressed in the final week. The subsequent instruction enables students to develop a solution to the challenge by engaging them in researching topics, generating ideas, planning courses of action, making things, and testing and presenting their designs. Addressing these challenges requires students to apply concepts and skills from mathematics, science, technology, and other academic subjects.