June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
11.224.1 - 11.224.28
Applying K-8 science and technology curricula to engineering education: What can be learned from the Educator Resource Center at the Museum of Science, Boston
The National Research Council and the International Technology Education Association have established standards for technological literacy, and several states require engineering concepts to be taught and assessed on state tests. Each year sees the publication of more curricular materials to address these standards, but many teachers and districts lack the resources or time to determine which curriculum is most appropriate for the learning needs of their students. The primary goal of this study is to consider the usefulness of traditional science and technology curricular materials for K-8 educators who are interested in addressing engineering content standards.
This paper describes an analysis of selected K-8 science and technology curricula in the context of teaching engineering. The set of curricula considered here is a convenience sample: an online database of K-8 science and technology textbooks and teacher’s guides that have been reviewed by the Educator Resource Center at the Museum of Science, Boston, according to their appropriateness for teaching about engineering. Each curriculum was previously evaluated according to 20 criteria by the Educator Resource Center (ERC). These 20 evaluation parameters measure six key characteristics: coverage of national and state standards, usability by K-8 teachers, adequacy of background information and educator support, availability of different amounts of scaffolding for student activities, variety of instructional approaches to the design process, and provision of assessment tools. In this meta-analysis, evaluations of 44 different curricular modules are compiled, and summary statistics of the entire sample set and specific subsets are computed and compared. The paper concludes with recommendations for the application of ERC-reviewed science and technology curricula to K-8 engineering education. It also identifies the national and state engineering/technology standards that are currently not addressed by the ERC science and technology textbooks and teacher’s guides.
1.1 Background Information and Literature Review
A new trend in K-12 education is to incorporate concepts and ways of thinking from the engineering disciplines into math and science courses. A growing number of educators, starting at the postsecondary level and now spreading to the high school and elementary level, are recognizing that awareness of and knowledge about engineering are crucial to students’ ability to navigate our technology-dependent society. This effort by educators and policymakers to include engineering in K-12 classrooms is part of an initiative that is often referred to as the “technological literacy” movement.
The modern technological literacy movement can be said to have begun in 1996, when the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) and the National Science Foundation published the Technology for All Americans Project, A Rationale and Structure for the Study of Technology 1. Specific recommendations about the content of technology education were made in 2000, when the National Research Council joined with the ITEA to establish national standards
Newman, D., & Wendell, K. (2006, June), Applying K 8 Science And Technology Curricula To Engineering Education: What Can Be Learned From The Educator Resource Center At The Museum Of Science, Boston Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--874
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