… standards-based activities that integrate algebra and engineering using a hands-on, problem-solving, and cooperative-learning approach.” The materials in “A World in Motion” are designed to facilitate an “exploration of physical science while addressing essential mathematic and scientific concepts and skills.” The “Insights,” “Material World Modules,” and “The Infinity Project are all designed to improve science education and show how fundamental science and mathematics concepts can be applied to solve engineering problems.

Other curricula include engineering content to address the technological literacy needs of students. In the “City Technology” curriculum, the central purpose is to “engage elementary children with the core ideas and processes of technology (or engineering, if you prefer).” The goal of the “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum is “to harness children’s natural curiosity to promote [the] learning of engineering and technology concepts.” Similarly, the primary objective of the “Exploring Design and Engineering” initiative is to “help youngsters discover the ‘human-made world,’ its design and development.” The “Invention, Innovation, and Inquiry” curriculum was created to “provide professional support for teachers interested in technological literacy in education.”

Another more general goal of engineering curricula is to improve students’ critical thinking. For instance, the goal of one “Gateway to Technology” unit is “to show … students how technology is used in engineering to solve everyday problems.” “Engineering is Elementary” develops “interesting problems and contexts and then invite[s] children to have fun as they use their knowledge of science and engineering to design, create, and improve solutions.” “Design and Discovery” “engages students in hands-on engineering and design activities intended to foster knowledge, skill development, and problem solving in the areas of science and engineering.”

Only a few curricula define their objective as teaching engineering concepts and skills to prepare young people for further education and, ultimately, engineering careers. The Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies curriculum, “Designing for Tomorrow,” encourages and prepares students “for success in college and professional careers in fields such as business, engineering, and technology.” One of the central goals of “The Infinity Project” is to “help close the gap between the number of engineering graduates we currently produce in the United States, and the large need for high-quality engineering graduates in the near future.” And PLTW materials “provide students with the rigorous, relevant, reality-based knowledge necessary to pursue engineering or engineering technology programs in college.”

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