June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
22.94.1 - 22.94.11
A report on a GK-12 program: engineering as a contextual vehicle for math and science educationThis work reports on the cumulative results of a four year NSF GK-12 program that partneredour university with a local, urban, school district. The premise of the program was to place GK-12 fellows in school classrooms to benefit the fellows, teachers, and students. The specific goalsof the program were to improve the teaching, communication, and team skills of the GK-12fellows, provide mentoring experiences for the GK-12 fellows, provide content enhancement forthe GK-12 teachers, enrich and excite the science and math learning experiences of middle gradestudents, and to further strengthen the relationship between our university and the school district.The strategy for accomplishing this was the development of a unique presentation model thatuses engineering in context and examples of engineering in the world around us as a vehiclethrough which to integrate and enrich the teaching of science and mathematics while embeddingfeedback and interactive processes by which the fellows, teachers, and students communicateshared experiences. The school students and GK-12 teachers gain an appreciation for the scienceand mathematics concepts in an applied, real world context. Concurrently the GK-12 fellowsbecome knowledgeable in pedagogy through direct application of their technical/scientificexpertise in the context of the classroom setting, interaction with the teacher, mentoring students,and building their personal teaching and confidence. Thus the GK-12 fellow, teacher, and middlegrade students all “learn-by-doing”.Throughout its four year existence, our GK-12 program has impacted a significant number offellows, teachers and students. In total twenty one fellows partnered with twenty teachers fromten different public schools to impact over 1500 students. The student population was composedof primarily minority and low-income students. The fellows have developed more than 250engineering based modules that are available for public access. To assess the effectiveness of theprogram, the fellows, teachers, and students were monitored throughout the school year. Thefellows completed multiple surveys and wrote weekly reflection journals. The students weresurveyed at the beginning and end of the year, while the teachers completed mid and end of yearsurveys. Evaluations of all three populations showed positive outcomes. The fellows becamemore comfortable assuming the teacher role in the classroom and gained experiencecommunicating their research to a non-specialized audience; the teachers reported their partnerfellow as being a valuable asset to the classroom in a number of ways; the students showed anincrease in their knowledge of engineering, as well as their math and science skills.In essence, our GK-12 program has been a true asset to the participating schools, classrooms,teachers, and fellows. It enriched education, utilized higher order thinking processes,incorporated technology and investigation, and created an environment where students worktogether explore complex science concepts in a fun and exciting way. The teachers benefited byhaving a true expert in the classroom that implemented engineering modules and exposed thestudents to experiences they would not otherwise receive. Finally, the fellows developed asteachers, mentors, communicators and built partnerships with public school teachers andstudents.
Pelleg, B., & Urias, D., & Fontecchio, A. K., & Ph.D., E. F. (2011, June), A Report on a GK-12 Program: Engineering as a Contextual Vehicle for Math and Science Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17376
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