Asee peer logo

An Integrated Three-year High School STEM Curriculum Based on the Global Grand Challenges (Resource Exchange)

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Technical Session 12

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Katherine Levenick Shirey Knowles Teacher Initiative Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Katey Shirey graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Physics and a B.A. in Sculpture (minor in art history). After teaching sculpture at UVA as an Aunspaugh Fellow, she completed her Masters of Teaching in secondary science also at UVA. Dr. Shirey taught high school physics in Arlington, VA, for five years and became a Knowles Teacher Initiative Teaching Fellow. During this time, she served as a teacher liaison to the IceCube Neutrino Telescope at the South Pole and was a NASA astronaut candidate finalist in 2013. Dr. Shirey earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2017 after transitioning to study engineering integration in high school instruction as a site of creative thinking in physics learning. She currently works for the Knowles Teacher Initiative as the Knowles Academy Program Officer developing teacher-led professional learning opportunities and facilitating engineering-integration teacher professional development. She serves on the Washington, D.C., Ward 1 Education Council.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This project provides an example of a three-year high school integrative STEM curriculum that uses the Global Grand Challenges of Engineering (NAE, 2008) to drive content learning of traditional high school science (biology, chemistry, and physics), math (Algebra II, geometry, trig, and pre-calculus), engineering, as well as analog and digital technologies practices. Known as the Global STEM Challenges Program (GSCP) (AUTHOR CITATION OMITTED), the content connections between regularly siloed STEM fields may serve as inspiration for a kind of rigorous integrated STEM teaching that is possible in the pre-college setting. STEM education holds the promise of helping students understand how technologies work to help them become STEM literate, and increase problem solving and innovation (Bybee, 2010). However, too often is STEM education merely a rebranding of the regular siloed disciplines represented by STEM (Sanders, 2009) or a combination of math and science only (Bybee, 2010). Truly integrated STEM curriculum must require learning across all four subjects. One definition of integrative STEM learning is “problem-based learning that purposefully situates scientific inquiry and the application of mathematics in the context of technological designing/problem solving” (Sanders, 2009, p.21.) The GSCP curriculum expands upon that definition by recognizing and responding to the curricular standards that high school subjects are bound by. This resource exchange entry will share the curriculum developed to teach 9th-, 10th­-, and 11th-grade biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as algebra II, geometry, pre-calculus, introductory calculus, engineering design, and analog and digital technology. The resources shared will include tables that display the course’s sequence broken into 15 instructional units, the grounding engineering design challenge that students tackle for each unit, and each unit's content objectives.

Shirey, K. L. (2020, June), An Integrated Three-year High School STEM Curriculum Based on the Global Grand Challenges (Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34136

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015