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Assessing Teachers’ Experiences with STEM and Perceived Barriers to Teaching Engineering

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research & Evaluation on K-12 Teachers and Teaching.

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.244.1 - 26.244.15



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Paper Authors


Sarah Marie Coppola Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

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Sarah Coppola is a graduate student in Human Factors Engineering at Tufts University. Prior to attending Tufts, Sarah worked as a reliability engineer and completed an AmeriCorps service year teaching in an engineering magnet high school in Paterson, NJ. She draws upon her diverse interests in design, teaching, and social justice in her research work in physical ergonomics and engineering education at the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). Sarah earned a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Design from Northwestern University.

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Leonardo Andres Madariaga Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach / Federico Santa Maria Technical University

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Leonardo Madariaga is a graduate student in the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) at Tufts University in Medford, MA. He graduated as a Product Design Engineer in 2006 from Federico Santa Maria Technical University (UTFSM) in Chile. Currently he is a M.S. student in Human Factors Engineering at Tufts.
His primary interest is the generation of physical and digital environments that can foster design and creativity in engineering education. He has seven years of experience in teaching engineering undergraduates design methods and guiding them in project based courses at UTFSM in Chile, where he also worked as a product innovation consultant for several small companies.

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Marya H. Schnedeker Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, Tufts University

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Marya Schnedeker is a M.S. student at Tufts University in the Human Factors Engineering program. Her research focus is instructional design. She is currently researching methods of training novice users on CAD software and 3D printers.

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Assessing Teachers’ Experiences with STEM and Perceived Barriers to Teaching EngineeringThe next generation science standards (NGSS) call for all K-12 students to participate inengineering experiences, which will be a new subject area for many schools in the U.S. Teachersreceive training in teaching science and math, but most elementary and middle school teachershave not received training in teaching engineering or technology. As the push for incorporatingmore STEM into K-12 increases, it is important to understand teachers’ attitudes about andexperiences with engineering and STEM at the K-12 level. The Novel Engineering (formallyIntegration of Engineering and Literacy) Project recently surveyed 70 U.S. elementary andmiddle school teachers in 15 states to explore teachers’ experiences with teaching engineering aswell as their opinions about including more engineering in K-8 classrooms. The survey analysisaccounted for differences in location, years of experience, and type of school. Conflictingexternal pressures and a lack of training emerged as consistent barriers to teaching engineeringacross different types of schools and locations. Many teachers are interested in incorporatingmore engineering experiences, but time, focus on standards & testing, and lack of administrativesupport are significant obstacles for engineering education innovators and researchers to takeinto account when developing curricula. These findings also suggest that teachers would benefitfrom more training at both the pre-service and in-service levels in effective methods for teachingengineering, especially within an integrated unit that complements other core academic subjects.This paper discusses the results of the survey and its implications for disseminating successfulengineering education initiatives that teachers feel empowered and prepared to teach.

Coppola, S. M., & Madariaga, L. A., & Schnedeker, M. H. (2015, June), Assessing Teachers’ Experiences with STEM and Perceived Barriers to Teaching Engineering Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23583

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