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A Conceptual Framework for Engineering Design Experiences in High School

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.37.1 - 24.37.8

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Paper Authors


Cameron Denson North Carolina State University

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Cameron Denson is an assistant professor of Technology and Engineering Design Education (TDE) in the Dept. of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at N.C. State University.

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Matthew D. Lammi North Carolina State University

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Assistant Professor of STEM Education

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A Conceptual Framework for Engineering Design Experiences in High SchoolThe infusion of engineering design into high school settings can help develop students’critical thinking skills and expose them to engineering careers at an early age.Unfortunately, since the advent of engineering design in pre-college milieus, researchers,educators, and curriculum developers alike have been brooding over ways to infuse suchan equivocal subject into the classroom. Due to its interdisciplinary nature engineeringdesign has struggled to find a home in classroom settings moving from technologyeducation, to science classrooms and even informal learning environments. These factorsconsidered it is our belief that the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) field as a whole has failed to provide educators with an adequate framework forthe infusion of engineering design experiences into the classroom. This includesdetermining proper sequencing of engineering design activities and establishing whattypes of engineering design problems high school students are able to work and/or solve.This paper attempts to ameliorate some of these issues by promulgating a conceptualframework for introducing engineering design experiences to high school students. Forthe purposes of this paper, a framework is defined as a structure that is used to solvecomplex issues. Conclusions for this paper are drawn from a synthesis of six positionpapers commissioned by the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education(NCETE) resulting in the following emergent themes: situating engineering design in thecurriculum; assessing the engineering design experience; sequencing the engineeringdesign experience; and selecting appropriate engineering design challenges. It is ourcontention that proper attention to these four areas will support the infusing andinvestigation of proper curricula and pedagogy needed to provide successful engineeringdesign experiences for high school students.

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