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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects 4 The Current State of K–12 Engineering Education A major goal of this project was to determine the scope and nature of current efforts to teach engineering to K–12 students in the United States. How many programs are there, who developed them, and which students have they reached? What purposes do they serve? How do they present engineering and engineering design? How do they relate to science, mathematics, and technology? What pedagogical strategies do teachers use? Have outcomes data been collected, and how good are these data? We approached this task in two ways: (1) by reviewing curricula for teaching engineering concepts and skills in K–12 classrooms and (2) by reviewing relevant professional-development initiatives for teachers. As it turns out, the curriculum landscape is extremely varied; in fact, no two curricula occupy the same “ecological” niche. This is not surprising, given the diverse origins of these materials and points of view of their creators. In addition, because there is no widespread agreement on what a K–12 engineering curriculum should include, the committee decided not to compare programs directly but to identify areas of relative emphasis and notable omissions. This approach revealed certain cross-cutting themes, which are discussed in detail later in this chapter. Developing a curriculum does not guarantee that engineering education in K–12 will be successful. A critical factor is whether teachers—from elementary generalists to middle school and high school specialists—understand basic engineering concepts and are comfortable engaging in, and teaching, engi-
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects neering design. For this, teachers must either have appropriate background in mathematics, science, and technology, or they must collaborate with teachers who have this background. We held two data-gathering workshops to explore the professional-development situation for K–12 engineering educators. Information from those workshops is also included in this chapter. Although the emphasis in this report is on engineering education in this country, the charge to the committee included a directive to find examples of pre-college engineering education in other nations, on the grounds that efforts elsewhere to introduce pre-college students to engineering might influence decisions here. The few initiatives we found are described briefly in an annex to this chapter. Finally, we recognize that numerous efforts have been made to introduce engineering to K–12 students outside of formal school settings, through websites, contests, after-school programs, and summer programs. The committee charge did not require us to examine these informal K–12 activities. We note, however, that some of these initiatives appear to have increased students’ awareness of and stimulated their interest in engineering (e.g., Melchior et al., 2005; TexPREP, 2003). REVIEW OF CURRICULA To identify K–12 engineering curricula, the committee relied on the joint efforts of committee members, Prof. Kenneth Welty,1 University of Wisconsin-Stout, and project staff. The methods included reviews of websites of professional organizations, government agencies, and corporations with an interest in engineering education; searches of online curriculum clearinghouses and libraries; and direct communication with engineering educators, technology teachers, supervisors of state departments of education, and principal investigators of known K–12 engineering education programs and projects. In May 2008, the committee solicited public comments on a project summary, which brought several additional curricula to our attention. Overall, the committee collected more than 10,000 pages of material, including lengthy narratives downloaded off the Web, material stored on compact disks, material assembled in three-ring binders, and material bound into textbooks. The materials ranged from 425 pages on a single 1 The committee chose Prof. Welty because of his expertise in curriculum analysis, as well as his capacity as a co-principal investigator at the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) funded by the National Science Foundation. NCETE’s research agenda complements the overall goals of this project.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects topic—gliders—to just 46 pages on the huge topic of biotechnology. To ensure that patterns would be identified and meaningful conclusions drawn, the committee reviewed roughly equal numbers of curricula for each major K–12 grade band (i.e., elementary, middle, and high school). Because of limitations on time and funding, as well as practical difficulties in locating some more obscure products, this curriculum review cannot be considered comprehensive. Nevertheless, the committee believes nearly all major initiatives and many less-prominent ones are included, thus providing a reasonable overview of the current state of K–12 engineering education in the United States. We are aware that there are individual courses not part of larger curricula that address engineering concepts and skills to varying degrees. These courses, typically developed and taught by technology educators, are not treated in our analysis, however. Selection Criteria To bound the analysis, the committee developed criteria to guide the selection of curricula that reflect the committee’s consensus that design is the distinguishing characteristic of engineering. To be included in the study, therefore, curricula had to meet the following specifications: The curriculum must engage students in the engineering-design process or require that students analyze past solutions to engineering-design problems. The curriculum must explore certain concepts (e.g., systems, constraints, analysis, modeling, optimization) that are central to engineering thinking. The curriculum must include meaningful instances of mathematics, science, and technology. The curriculum must present engineering as relevant to individuals, society at large, or both. The curriculum must be of sufficient scale, maturity, and rigor to justify the time and resources required to conduct an analysis.2 2 Specifically, each initiative had to be designed to be used by people and organizations outside the group responsible for its initial development. It also had to include at least one salient piece that had undergone field testing and subsequent revision and was no longer identified as a “draft.” Finally, during the development of the initiative, it had to include some form of review of the initial concept, pilot or field testing, iterations based on feedback, an external evaluation, or a combination of these.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects Review Process The review process was overseen by Prof. Welty with the help of graduate fellows at NCETE. The committee initially underestimated the challenges of conducting in-depth reviews, such as the unique content, point of view, and organization of each curriculum and, often, their large size, which required many more hours of analysis than had been originally budgeted. As a result, the plan for reviews had to be modified midway through the project. Ultimately, we conducted two types of reviews: in-depth content analyses and descriptive summaries. In-depth reviews were conducted on curricula that (1) appeared to be widely used in schools, (2) appeared to have longevity, or (3) had other special characteristics that merited close examination. The in-depth reviews covered all three grade bands (Table 4-1). TABLE 4-1 Curricula Included in the Studya Title Developer
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects Title Developer aCurricula shaded in gray received in-depth reviews. Each in-depth review included a detailed inventory of the content of the curriculum that addressed concepts and skills related to engineering, technology, mathematics, and science. The research team also identified stated goals, pedagogical strategies, prominent activities, and treatment (if any) of content standards. If available, the team also documented how extensively the curriculum had been implemented and findings related to its impact. The authors of the curriculum were contacted, as needed, to provide background information, clarify details, or confirm researchers’ findings. Detailed written reports for each in-depth review were read and discussed by the committee. Descriptive summaries were prepared for the other curricular documents.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects The descriptive summaries can be found in Appendix B and the in-depth reviews in Appendix C, included on the CD in the back cover of the report. CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF ENGINEERING CURRICULA The search for K–12 engineering education curricula turned up a wide variety of products from many different sources. Each curriculum had its own personality, and no two were completely alike in mission, content, format, or pedagogy. To deal with this complexity, Prof. Welty developed a “beads-and-threads” model (Figure 4-1) that enabled us to analyze the curricula in a systematic way using a manageable set of key variables. The beads represent the “packaging” in which the engineering content of the curriculum is delivered to students. Most of the curricular materials used interesting technologies to package content into manageable chunks. For example, “The Infinity Project” focused on technologies likely to be of interest to students, such as the Internet and cell phones, digital video and movie special effects, and electronic music. Other developers organized materials around hands-on learning activities familiar to and popular with many students and teachers. For example, the middle school program of “Project Lead the Way,” Gateway to Technology, includes activities for making and testing CO2-powered dragsters, magnetic-levitation vehicles, water-bottle rockets, model rockets, and Rube Goldberg devices. The content of several curricula was organized around the design process. For example, the “Design and Discovery” curriculum, by Intel Corporation, features lessons and learning activities for identifying problems, gathering information, brainstorming solutions, drawing plans, making models, building prototypes, and making presentations. Prominent local or regional industries, such as Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., were used as examples in interdisciplinary thematic units in the “Children Designing and Engineering” materials, developed at The College of New Jersey. The material in one curriculum, “Engineering is Elementary,” was organized around traditional fields of engineering (e.g., civil, environmental, electrical, agricultural, and mechanical engineering). In the conceptual model, the threads, which run through the beads, represent the core concepts and basic skills a curriculum is designed to impart, independent of the particular packaging. Three threads, mathematics, science, and technology, represent domain knowledge in these subjects that is used in engineering design. A fourth thread represents the engineering design process. The design thread incorporates a number of spe-
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects FIGURE 4-1 A beads-and-threads model of K–12 engineering curricula. cific attributes of engineering design, such as analysis, constraints, modeling, optimization, and systems. The sections below describe of how these threads play out in the curricula. The Mathematics Thread We defined mathematics as patterns and relationships among quantities, numbers, and shapes. Specific branches of mathematics include arithmetic, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Our analysis suggests that mathematics is a thin thread running through the beads in most of the K–12 engineering curricula.3 The thinness of the thread reflects the limited role of mathematics in the objectives, learning activities, and assessment tools of the curricula. The mathematics used in the curricular materials reviewed by the committee involved mostly gathering, organizing, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting data. For example, in the “A World in Motion” curriculum, students build and test small vehicles (e.g., gliders, motorized cars, balloon- 3 A separate analysis of curriculum, assessment, and professional development materials for three Project Lead the Way courses found explicit integration of mathematics “was apparent, but weakly so” (Prevost et al., 2009).
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects powered cars, wind-propelled skimmers). The testing involves measuring speed, distance, direction, and duration in conjunction with the systematic manipulation of key variables that affect vehicle performance (e.g., balloon inflation, sail size and shape, gear ratios, wing placement, nose weight). The data are organized into tables or graphs to see if they reveal patterns and relationships among the variables. The conclusions based on the data are then used to inform the design of subsequent vehicles. Similar instances of gathering and using data for vehicle design were found in the Models and Designs unit in the “Full Option Science System” and the Gateway to Technology unit of “Project Lead the Way.” Other materials engage students in counting and measuring, completing tables, drawing graphs, and making inferences, such as evaluating pump dispensers, conducting surveys, and testing materials. Engineers often use mathematical equations and formulas to solve for unknowns. Young people can learn about the utility of this application of math in various ways, such as by calculating the amount of current in a circuit based on known values for voltage and resistance or determining the output force of a mechanism based on a given input force and a known gear ratio. Several instances of this kind were found in the “Engineering the Future” curriculum. In one activity, students calculate the weight of a proposed product (an organizer) based on three different materials prior to prototyping. Another requires that students calculate the mechanical advantage of a lever to determine how much force is required to test the strength of concrete. However, most of the mathematics in the “Engineering the Future” curriculum is used to teach science concepts by illustrating relationships between variables, rather than to assist in solving design problems. For example, simple algebraic equations are used to represent the relationship between the cross-section of a pipe and its resistance to fluid flow, to calculate the output pressure of a hydraulic pump, and to determine the power produced by an electrical circuit. In these cases, mathematics is used to build domain knowledge in much the same way mathematics is used in science classes. Several projects (e.g., “A World in Motion,” “Building Math,” Gateway to Technology, “Design and Discovery,” “Designing for Tomorrow”) introduce and require the application of basic geometry principles in conjunction with the development of technical drawings. For example, “Engineering the Future” includes lessons dealing with the concepts of scale and X, Y, and Z axes in the context of making orthographic, isometric, oblique, and perspective drawings. Introduction to Engineering Design, a unit in “Project
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects Lead the Way,” addresses basic geometry in some detail in conjunction with the exploration of the modeling of solids using computer-aided design software. In this curriculum, students identify geometric shapes (e.g., ellipses, triangles, polygons), calculate surface area and volume, use Cartesian coordinates, and use addition and subtraction to create geometric shapes. One strategy for increasing the mathematics content in some curricula was to include mathematical concepts in supplementary materials as enrichment activities. This approach might be characterized as a thread along the outside of the beads. The peripheral placement of the thread indicates that enrichment activities are optional, rather than integral to the unit but complement or extend instruction. This approach was found in materials associated with projects in “Children Designing and Engineering,” “Models and Designs,” “Material World Modules,” and “A World in Motion.” For example, in an “extension activity” in “Models and Designs,” students are asked to determine how long it took them to make an electrical device called a “hum dinger” (e.g., fastest time, slowest time, average time, total time). In an optional mathematics assignment in the Gliders unit of “A World in Motion,” students determine the mathematical properties of different wing shapes (e.g., area, mean chord length, aspect ratio). At the high school level, the “Materials World Modules” invites teachers to engage students in using the formula for Young’s modulus to determine the deflection of a fishing pole made out of drinking straws. Mathematics is a dominant thread in “The Infinity Project” and “Building Math.” The latter is designed to teach students how principles learned in middle school algebra can be used in the context of engineering challenges. For example, in the Amazon Mission unit, students design an insulated carrier for transporting malaria medicine, a filtration system for removing mercury from water, and an intervention plan for containing the spread of a flu virus. Like most of the other curricula reviewed, “Building Math” also requires that students collect data, make graphs, and interpret patterns, related to, for example, the insulating properties of materials; the flow of water through holes of different sizes; the deflection of materials based on their length, thickness, and shape; and the effect of angles on the speed of an object sliding down a string. A major goal of the “Building Math” curriculum is to teach students that engineers use mathematics to minimize guesswork in designing solutions to problems. “The Infinity Project” is one of the few initiatives in which advanced algebra and trigonometry are introduced in engineering contexts. This curriculum encourages students to uncover, examine, and apply basic
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects mathematical principles that underlie common digital communication and information technologies. Binary numbers, matrix operations, polynomials, and other forms of mathematics are presented as essential content for synthesizing music, compressing video, and encrypting data, and mathematical concepts and equations are presented as tools used by engineers to create or improve a given digital technology or system. In addition, the laboratory activities require that students use mathematics and mathematical reasoning to design, simulate, and explore digital communication and information technologies. Engineers often develop mathematical models featuring the key variables in a process, system, or device. The variables include forces that act on a structure, the length of time required for a process, or the distance an object moves. The relationships between variables are represented by equations that can be used to test ideas, predict performance, and inform design decisions. However, our review of curricula did not find any projects or units in which students were instructed to develop and use mathematical models to assist them in designing solutions to problems. The Science Thread We defined “science” as the study of the natural world, including the laws of nature associated with physics, chemistry, and biology and the treatment or application of facts, principles, concepts, or conventions associated with these disciplines. Our analysis suggests that science is a moderately thick thread composed of two strands, (1) science concepts related to engineering topics and problems and (2) scientific modes of inquiry that build knowledge and inform design decisions. The First Strand The most common science topics in the first strand found in K–12 engineering curricula relate to materials, mechanisms, electricity, energy, and structures and typically involve concepts such as force, work, motion, torque, friction, voltage, current, and resistance. In the curricula, most of these concepts are presented in the form of encyclopedia-like explanations that are subsequently reinforced in laboratory activities. “Engineering is Elementary” includes concepts related to water, sound, plants, and organisms. At the high school level, “Material World Modules” address natural degradation processes, bioluminescence and chemilumi-
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects nescence, thermal and electrical conductivity, compressive and tensile forces on atoms, the relationship between molecular weight and viscosity, and the absorption and release of energy by molecular bonds. The Second Strand The second strand, scientific inquiry, is a major theme in several curricula, mostly to explore the interface between science and technology. For example, in the unit on Composites in “Material World Modules,” students make and test foam beams laminated with varying amounts of paper to determine the strength and stiffness of composite materials. Similar experiments related to materials, structures, electrical circuits, and mechanisms are included in “A World in Motion,” Building Structures with Young Children, a unit in the “Young Scientist Series,” “Children Designing and Engineering,” “City Technology,” “Design and Discovery,” “Engineering is Elementary,” and “Engineering the Future.” The results of these investigations are often applied in subsequent design activities. Another way scientific inquiry is used in the curricula is related to the collection of data to inform engineering design decisions. For example, the second challenge in “A World in Motion” requires that students conduct investigations to determine the effect of different gear ratios on the speed and torque of a motorized toy vehicle. In some cases, scientific inquiry is used to discover, illuminate, or validate a law of nature, as might be done in a science classroom. For example, in Gateway to Technology, students experience Newton’s Third Law by sitting on a scooter pointed in one direction, throwing a medicine ball in the opposite direction, and noting the direction and velocity of the scooter in relation to the direction and force used to throw the ball. Many curricula engage students in scientific inquiry and inquiry-based learning in a symbiotic way. Several curricula introduce students to the basic principles of scientific investigation under the auspices of doing science. For example, “City Technology,” “Material World Modules,” and “A World in Motion” all stress the importance of manipulating one variable at a time while keeping the other variables constant. Learning activities in these programs include investigations that apply this principle in the contexts of packaging, structures, materials, and flight. In addition to teaching students about scientific investigations, they engage students in the generation, testing, revision, and validation of their ideas about protecting goods, making things stronger, and making models fly. In this sense, these curricula use scientific inquiry as a pedagogical strategy for building student knowledge of engineering design.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects Program/Curriculum Scope of Training Target Audience Training Force Number of Teachers Reached Notes Engineering Our Future New Jersey (based on the following curricula: Engineering is Elementary, World in Motion, Engineering the Future) One- or two-day workshops Elementary, middle, and high school teachers Staff at the Stevens Institute of Technology 35 teachers in New Jersey Planned expansion will reach 2,000 teachers The Infinity Project Required one-week summer institute High school teachers 500 teachers in grades 9–12 Training includes an online discussion board for teachers Material World Modules Optional workshops that vary in length High school teachers Engineers of the Future (training based on several different curricula) Summer institute High school and middle school technology educators, and elementary teachers Nearly 700 trained, the majority using the Engineering is Elementary curriculum Supported by $1.7 million grant from the New York State Education Department
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects Engineering the Future Half-day, full-day, and multiple-day sessions in the Boston area and 20 to 40 hour moderated online professional development course High school teachers A memorandum of understanding between the Boston Museum of Science and Valley City State University allows Engineering the Future to be used in VCSU online pre-service technology teacher education Building Math Training DVD supplied with curriculum materials INSPIRES Two-day workshops Technology teachers in Maryland A World in Motion One-day workshop Elementary, middle, and high school teachers 65,000 kits shipped since 1990 (not clear how many teachers trained) Teachers must agree to work with an engineer who volunteers in the classroom
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects times to concepts and skills, including math and science skills, necessary to teach engineering. The committee was able to identify just three programs that offer pre-service education to prepare individuals to teach engineering in K–12 classrooms. Leveraging its model of in-service professional development, PLTW is working toward “infusing” its K–12 curriculum into teacher-preparation programs at nine university partners that already serve as sites for PLTW in-service summer institutes. The infusion of PLTW coursework into existing teacher-preparation curricula must be carefully planned to ensure that it aligns with state licensing requirements (Rogers, 2008). As of early 2009, fewer than 10 teachers had graduated from the new PLTW-infused programs (Richard Grimsley, Project Lead the Way, personal communication, January 5, 2009). In contrast to PLTW’s curriculum-focused approach, in 2002 the College of New Jersey (TCNJ) initiated the Math/Science/Technology (M/S/T) interdisciplinary degree program for aspiring elementary school teachers that requires coursework in all four STEM subjects. The program is a collaborative effort by the schools of engineering, education, and science administered by the Department of Technological Studies in the School of Engineering. The 32-credit program (Box 4-1) now has more than 150 graduates and current majors and is one of the fastest growing majors at TCNJ (Karsniz et al., 2007). Students who matriculate from the M/S/T program appear to have an appropriate background for teaching engineering. Unfortunately, TCNJ does not track the employment histories of its M/S/T graduates who, according to school officials, are in great demand as science and math teachers (John Karsnitz, TCNJ, personal communication, September 20, 2007). So, at least for now, the TCNJ program does not appear to be contributing to the national supply of engineering teachers. In 2006, Colorado State University in Fort Collins established a joint major in engineering and education. To the committee’s knowledge, this is the only program of its kind in the United States. Students in the program must complete general-education requirements, core engineering requirements, engineering-school electives, and professional education requirements. In the first year, 11 students (70 percent of them female) were enrolled in the program. Graduates will receive an engineering degree and a teaching license (DeMiranda, 2008). Other models of pre-service engineering education for teachers exist. For example, at Boise State University, students majoring in elementary
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects BOX 4-1 The M/S/T Major at TCNJ The M/S/T program provides 10 units of “liberal learning” courses, such as creative design, calculus A, and a natural science. The 12-unit M/S/T academic major has an eight-unit core, which includes courses in multimedia design, structures and mechanics, two additional science courses, and one additional math course (either calculus B or engineering math). Areas of specialization must include four additional units in technology/pre-engineering, mathematics, biology, chemistry, or physics. Specialization is the equivalent of a minor in one of the disciplines and may require that specific courses be included in the core requirements. M/S/T students who major in education must also complete 10 units of professional education courses. Such students meet New Jersey’s certification requirements for highly qualified teachers. In addition to primary K–5 certification, M/S/T majors can apply for an endorsement for teaching middle school mathematics or science, if they have completed 15 credits of coursework in the discipline and have passed the appropriate PRAXIS test. They may also receive technology-education certification, if they have completed at least 30 specified credits and passed the appropriate PRAXIS test. SOURCE: Karsnitz, 2007. education may enroll in an introductory engineering course offered by the College of Engineering. The course is supplemented by a seminar led by education faculty that considers how engineering projects can be used in the K–12 classroom to meet state teaching standards for math and science as well as reading, writing, and other non-technical subjects (Miller and Smith, 2006). Through a collaboration with TERC (www.terc.edu), Lesley University and Walden University offer an online course, Engineering: From Science to Design, for education master’s degree candidates. The course includes independent, hands-on work and group feedback and discussion in facilitated online forums (Sara Lacy, TERC, May 15, 2008). At least two states have started programs to provide new K–12 teachers with STEM credentials. In California, the University of California, California State University, and state and industry leaders initiated Cal Teach (http://calteach.berkeley.edu/),
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects which recruits students majoring in math, science, and engineering to become K–12 teachers. The goal of Cal Teach is to have 1,000 teachers in place by 2010. A similar effort, UTeach (http://uteach.utexas.edu/), was launched in 1997 at the University of Texas at Austin. As of 2007, the program had graduated a total of 480 STEM students, 41 of whom had degrees in engineering in addition to teaching certificates (376 had degrees in the natural sciences) (University of Texas at Austin, 2007). Under the auspices of the National Math and Science Initiative, UTeach has been expanded to 13 additional colleges and universities across the United States. OBSTACLES FACING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS Based on information provided during the two preliminary workshops and in the research literature, several barriers to professional development programs must be overcome in preparing educators to teach engineering in K–12 classrooms. For instance, teachers who are not familiar with engineering may feel anxious and apprehensive, which can inhibit the effectiveness of professional development programs. Christine Cunningham, the director of professional development for “Engineering is Elementary,” described the problem (Cunningham, 2007): If most elementary teachers are afraid of teaching science, the notion of teaching engineering is often accompanied by terror. Much of the point of our professional development is to defuse their feelings of ineptitude through engagement. Similarly, teachers who do not have adequate knowledge of science and, especially, mathematics sometimes have difficulty understanding the material. In addition, some have little, if any, desire to take part in training activities (Diefes-Dux and Duncan, 2007). Reportedly, some teachers also are uncomfortable with the open-endedness of engineering design. “A major challenge in PD for K–12 engineering is to undo the mindset that sees answers as right or wrong, and as complete or incomplete,” note Benenson and Neujahr (2007). In a survey of 44 technology teacher-education programs, only 17 percent had completed the mathematics and science courses that would qualify them to teach PLTW courses (McAlister, 2005). McAlister also found that, when a group of 43 technology teachers was presented with two fairly simple problems involving structural load, half of them indicated that they would require additional training before they could teach those
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects problems to students. Only one was able to identify the correct formula for solving one of the problems. INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering & Science), a small-scale professional-development program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, relies on engineering faculty to lead some activities. The program leaders note, however, that large numbers of engineering faculty might not be able to participate in such ventures because of their workloads and because of typical university reward structures (Ross and Bayles, 2007). More systemic problems, such as a lack of understanding of program content and learning progressions, may also interfere with the effectiveness of professional-development programs for K–12 teachers of engineering (Hailey et al., 2008). REFERENCES Asunda, P. and R. Hill. 2007. Critical features of engineering design in technology education. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education 44(1): 25–48. Ball, D.L., M.H. Thames, and G. Phelps. 2008. Content Knowledge for Teaching: What Makes It Special? Presented at the National Symposium on Professional Development for Engineering and Technology Education, Dallas, Texas, February 11–13, 2007. Available online at www.conferences.ilstu.edu/NSA/homepage.html (accessed May 23, 2008). Bandura, A., W.H. Freeman, and R. Lightsey. 1999. Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 13(2): 158–166. Benenson, G., and J. L. Neujahr. 2007. Unraveling a Knotty Design Challenge: PD for Engineering K-12. Paper presented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on K–12 Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2007. Unpublished. Cunningham, C. 2007. Elementary Teacher Professional Development in Engineering: Lessons Learned from Engineering is Elementary. Paper resented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2007. Unpublished. Daugherty, J.L., and R.L. Custer. Unpublished. Engineering-Oriented Professional Development for Secondary Level Teachers: A Multiple Case Study Analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. DeMiranda, M. 2008. K-12 Engineering Education Workshop. Paper presented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on K–12 Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., February 25, 2008. Unpublished. Diefes-Dux, H and D. Duncan. 2007. Adapting Engineering is Elementary Professional Development to Encourage Open-Ended Mathematical Modeling. Paper presented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on K–12 Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2007. Unpublished.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects EWEP (Extraordinary Women Engineers Project). 2005. Extraordinary Women Engineers—Final Report, April 2005. Available online at http://www.eweek.org/site/news/Eweek/EWE_Needs_Asses.pdf (accessed December 15, 2008). Garmire, E. 2002. The engineering design method. The Technology Teacher 62(6): 22–28. Hailey C., D. Householder, and K. Becker. 2008. Observations about Professional Development. Paper presented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on K–12 Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., February 25, 2008. Unpublished. IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America). 2008. ID defined. Available online at http://www.idsa.org/absolutenm/templates/?a=89&z=23 (accessed December 15, 2008). Karsnitz, J., S. O’Brien, and S. Sherman. 2007. M/S/T at TCNJ. Paper presented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on K–12 Engineering, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2007. Unpublished. Maple, S.A., and F.K. Stage. 1991. Influences on the choice of math/science major by gender and ethnicity. American Educational Research Journal 28(1): 37-60. McAlister, B. 2005. Are Technology Education Teachers Prepared to Teach Engineering Design and Analytical Methods? Paper presented at the International Technology Education Association Conference, Session IV: Technology Education and Engineering, Kansas City, Missouri, April 4, 2005. Melchior, A., F. Cohen, T. Cutter, and T. Leavitt. 2005. More Than Robots: An Evaluation of the FIRST Robotics Competition—Participant and Institutional Impacts. Center for Youth and Communities, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. Available online at http://www.usfirst.org/uploadedFiles/Who/Impact/Brandeis_Studies/FRC_eval_finalrpt.pdf (accessed August 1, 2008). Miller, R., and E.B. Smith. 2006. Education by Design: Connecting Engineering and Elementary Education. Paper published as part of the proceedings from The Fourth Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, January 6–9, 2006, Honolulu. Available online at http://coen.boisestate.edu/EBarneySmith/Papers/Hawaii_2006.pdf (accessed January 6, 2009). Mundry, S. 2007. Professional Development in Science Education: What Works? Presented at the National Symposium on Professional Development for Engineering and Technology Education, Dallas, Texas, February 11–13, 2007. Available online at www.conferences.ilstu.edu/NSA/homepage.html (accessed May 23, 2008). NAE (National Academy of Engineering). 2008. Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering. Committee on Public Understanding of Engineering Messages. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. NCES (National Center for Education Statistics). 2001. Teacher Preparation and Professional Development: 2000. Available online at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/frss/publications/2001088 (accessed May 23, 2008). NSF (National Science Foundation). 2005. Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966–2004. Table 47, Engineering degrees awarded, by degree level and sex of recipient: 1996–2004. Available online at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07307/pdf/tab47.pdf (accessed August 11, 2008). Prevost, A., M. Nathan, B. Stein, N. Tran, and A. Phelps. 2009. The Integration of mathematics in pre-college engineering: The search for explicit connections. Proceedings of the 2009 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, June 14–17, 2009. Available online at http://sca.asee.org/paper/conference/paper-view.cfm?id=11744.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects Rogers, G. 2008. Pre-Service Professional Development for Middle School and High School Teacher of Engineering. Paper presented at a workshop of the NAE/NRC Committee on K–12 Engineering Education, Washington, D.C., February 25, 2008. Unpublished. Ross, J. M. and T. M. Bayles. 2007. Implementing the INSPIRES Curriculum: The Role of Professional Development. Professional Development of Engineering and Technology: A National Symposium Proceedings. Illinois State University. SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). 2009. A World in Motion. Facts. Available online at http://www.sae.org/exdomains/awim/aboutus/facts.htm (accessed April 2, 2009). Shulman, L.S. 1987. Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review 57(1): 1–22. TexPREP (Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program). 2003. Program Results—2003 PREP Fact Sheet. Available online at http://www.prep-usa.org/portal/texprep/generaldetail.asp?ID=107 (accessed January 30, 2009). University of Texas at Austin. 2007. UTeach, Special Addition, 10th Anniversary Report. Available online at https://uteach.utexas.edu/download.cfm?DownloadFile=1DE15E0B-9A97-2621-857E36A4D0DFC1EA (accessed August 13, 2008). U.S. Census Bureau. 2005. Population Profile of the United States: Dynamic Version. Race and Hispanic Origin in 2005. Available online at http://www.census.gov/population/pop-profile/dynamic/RACEHO.pdf (accessed January 5, 2009). Walcerz, D. 2007. Report on the Third Year of Implementation of the TrueOutcomes Assessment System for Project Lead the Way. Available online at http://www.pltw.org/pdfs/AnnualReport-2007-Public-Release.pdf (accessed August 11, 2008). Weber, K., and R. Custer. 2005. Gender-based Preferences Toward Technology Education Content, Activities, and Instructional Methods. Available online at http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v16n2/weber.html (accessed December 15, 2008). Annex PRE-UNIVERSITY ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN OTHER COUNTRIES1 Given the universality of science and technology, the committee felt it appropriate to look into how other nations encourage engineering thinking in pre-college students. However, because of budget and time constraints, 1 This appendix is adapted from a paper written for the committee by Dr. Marc J. DeVries, Eindhoven University, The Netherlands, based on research conducted by Carolyn Williams, a 2007 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow at the National Academy of Engineering.
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects BOX 4A-1 Selected Countries with Pre-College Engineering Programs England/Wales: General Certificate of Education, Engineering Australia (New South Wales): Higher School Certificate in Engineering Studies Israel: ORT Innovative Science Track in Engineering Sciences Germany: Junior-Ingenieur-Akademie (Academy for Junior Engineers) South Africa: Further Education and Training in Electrical Technology France: Baccalauréat General, Série Scientifique Sciences de l’Ingénieur; Baccalauréat Technologique, Série Sciences et Technologies Industrielles Netherlands: Technasium, Research and Design Colombia: Pequeños Cientificos (Little Scientists) the committee did not pursue this research and analysis with the same intensity as it had for U.S. efforts. In addition, because of differences in the organization and operation of educational systems in other countries, it was difficult to draw direct comparisons with the situation in the United States. Materials in languages other than English further complicated the analysis, and curricular documents were not always available. In many cases, the curriculum content had to be inferred from a review of sample assessment items. Despite these limitations, the committee was able to identify several important principles. The committee used a variety of information-gathering techniques, including online searching; telephone interviews; and e-mail requests to professional, corporate, academic, government, and education groups and individuals. Eight programs or projects in eight countries were identified (Box 4A-1), all but one of which (Pequenos Cientificos) were for senior secondary-level students (i.e., grades 10–12). In all probability, these eight initiatives represent only a fraction of these kinds of activities around the world. The Goals of Pre-College Engineering Education Two primary purposes were identified for exposing pre-college students to the study of engineering—“mainline” goals (i.e., general education) and
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects “pipeline” goals (i.e., preparation for engineering careers). The majority of programs were in the “pipeline” category. In France, for example, preparation for the academic study of engineering is preceded by a competitive selection process at the pre-college level with the goal of identifying the very best students for continued engineering education. Based on sample exam questions for prospective engineers in Israel, the committee inferred that the emphasis of the ORT engineering sciences program is on preparing students for post-secondary engineering education, rather than on expanding their general education. Programs in some countries seem to serve both purposes. For example, in England and Wales, the General Certificate of Education, Engineering, has some features in common with the U.K.’s Design and Technology Curriculum, which is designed primarily for general education purposes. At the same time, to receive a General Certificate, students must master a good deal of specific knowledge in engineering domains, thus preparing them for further engineering studies. Treatment of Engineering Concepts and Domains The focus on core engineering concepts in international programs varies greatly. The U.K. materials, for example, treat the concepts of systems and control in some detail, while other concepts, such as optimization, are largely absent. The design process is evident, consistent with the influence of the design and technology paradigm. In the Israeli programs, the curriculum and sample exam questions focus on the concept of systems; related ideas, such as control, feedback, and parameters, are also treated in some detail. By contrast, the South African assessment materials have few explicit references to general engineering concepts; instead, they focus on ideas specific to electrical engineering, most of which are scientific rather than engineering concepts (e.g., voltage, current). Exam questions in the French Série de Sciences de l’Ingénieur explicitly refer to engineering concepts, including system analysis, requirements, and optimization. Overall, the international pre-college engineering programs include a wide range of engineering domains. The U.K. General Certificate of Education, Engineering, reflects the compulsory pre-college design and technology curriculum; thus it explores the traditional disciplines of electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as less traditional areas, such as food technology and biotechnology. The exam questions for Australia’s Higher School Certificate in Engineering (HSCE) Studies address issues in telecom-
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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects munications, transportation, civil engineering, aeronautics, and electronics; the exam also includes a biotechnology module. In addition to two engineering sciences courses, students pursuing the Israeli ORT curriculum pick a specialization course from one of the following areas: motion systems, biomedical engineering, robotic systems, artificial intelligence, or aerospace engineering. The content of the sample exam for the ORT curriculum, however, appears to focus on computer programming. The French baccalauréat programs cover a variety of engineering domains spread over different ‘séries’ in the ‘bac’. In the engineering series, the focus is on electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and information science. Treatment of Science, Technology, and Mathematics International pre-college engineering initiatives appear to face same challenges as U.S. initiatives, such as teaching students to use math and science to solve or optimize authentic design challenges. In the French curriculum, math and science are integrated, but at a high level of difficulty. Exam questions for the ‘Séries de Sciences de l’Ingénieur’ describe a technical device that has to meet a given set of requirements, and students are asked to calculate certain variables based on their knowledge of science. In most instances, however, math and science concepts are treated as separate from technological content. For example, sample assessment items for the Australian HSCE require the application of scientific knowledge and mathematical skills to problems specific to technical devices. Either the technical device is used as a context for asking a question that requires knowledge of science and/or math, or the question is about technology and does not require science or math. The same separation was evident in exam questions and practical assessment tasks in the South African curriculum. The exam includes questions about abstract situations (e.g., diagrams representing electrical and logical circuits) in which students must make calculations and apply their knowledge of the laws of electricity. The practical assignments are design challenges, but they do not encourage the application of science or math to develop or optimize the design solution.