June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.265.1 - 22.265.12
Attracting K-12 Students towards Engineering Disciplines with Project Based Learning Modules ABSTRACTLow enrollment and high attrition rates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)based degree programs have created a workforce problem in industries like shipbuilding,automotive, aerospace and manufacturing. Part of this problem can be attributed pedagogical issueslike lack of engaging hands-on activities utilized for science and math education in middle and highschools. Lack of student interest in technical careers can also be attributed to lack of an integratedapproach in teaching math, science and technical education. To engage student’s interest in thetechnical career path, it is important that students establish a link between the theoretical knowledgeand its application to solve real life problems early in their learning experience. Project basedactivities have a proven record as instructional tool. Effectiveness of such activities as a pedagogicaltool has been supported by research in the acquisition and retention of knowledge.The MarineTech Project funded by the National Science Foundation and the Shipbuilding andRepair Career Day Events (SBRCD) project funded by the National Shipbuilding Research Program have attempted to address the workforce issue for by developing project based learning kits andassociated instructional modules to engage students in STEM tracks and increase awareness aboutshipbuilding and repair careers. Four marine kits and four instructional modules were developedunder these two grants to encourage creative thinking and keep students engaged in shipbuilding andrepair processes. The teacher training component of these projects has provided training in using andimplementing these modules. The paper presents the motivation behind developing these projectbased learning (PBL) modules, issues related to implementation and results from student and teacherworkshops.
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