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Can An Engineer Teach Elementary Education Majors How To Teach Science And Engineering?

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Elementary School Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.302.1 - 11.302.13



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Paper Authors


Karen High Oklahoma State University

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KAREN HIGH earned her B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1985 and her M.S. in 1988 and Ph.D. in 1991 from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. High is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University where she has been since 1991. Her main research interests are Sustainable Process Design, Industrial Catalysis, and Multicriteria Decision Making. Other scholarly activities include enhancing creativity in engineering practice and teaching science to education students and professionals.

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Caroline Beller Oklahoma State University

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CAROLINE BELLER earned her B. S. in Education from Florida Atlantic University in 1967 and her M. Ed. In 1989 and Ph. D. in 1998 from Texas A&M
University in College Station, TX. Dr. Beller is an Assistant Professor in the School of Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning in the College of Education at Oklahoma State University. Her main research interest are in science education and professional development. Dr. Beller has presented extensively at state, national, and international conferences in her research areas.

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Pamela Fry Oklahoma State University

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PAMELA FRY was named Dean of the OSU College of Education in March 2005. As dean, she also serves as the Director of Professional Education. Dr. Fry is a member of the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE), and serves on the organization's National Conference Planning Committee, and in 1996 received the ATE Distinguished Research in Teacher Education award. In addition, she co-edited Action in Teacher Education, a premiere journal in teacher education, from 2000-2003.

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Adrienne Redmond Oklahoma State University

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ADRIENNE REDMOND earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Oklahoma State University in 2000 and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2003. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Professional Educational Studies at Oklahoma State University. Adrienne Redmond is a Graduate Student and Teaching assistant in the School of Teaching, Curriculum, and Leadership in the College of Education at Oklahoma State University. Her interests include developing fraction sense, representation and how it impacts students ability to visualize and "do" math, math anxiety
and its impact on pre-service teachers, impact of high-stakes testing on teachers and the way they teach, technology as a learning tool, and teacher retention.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Can an Engineer Teach Elementary Education Majors How to Teach Science and Engineering?


Dr. Karen High, faculty member in Chemical Engineering, was a Laboratory Instructor for the fall 2005 Semester for CIED (Curriculum and Instruction Education) 4353 at Oklahoma State University. The course is “Science in the Elementary School Curriculum.” This course covers the purposes, selection and organization of content, teaching and learning procedures and evaluation of outcomes in elementary school science and its participants consist of education students typically without any background in engineering or science.

Approximately 75% of class time is devoted to laboratory activities and field experiences that promote the science content, process, learning theory, philosophy and curricula appropriate for grades 1-8. Class and field activities are hands-on, inquiry-based activities, utilizing whole group discussions, cooperative learning groups, and some individual projects. Laboratory experiences are designed to emphasize the science process skills. The remaining 25% of class time is devoted to lecture, discussion, and demonstration. During the laboratory engineering concepts were discussed and demonstrated.

This paper will focus on the effectiveness of instruction by a chemical engineering faculty member as evaluated by in-course assessment tools. Was there any perceived benefit of having an Engineer involved with a course designed for education majors? Were the students more aware of the engineering field and of engineering concepts due to this involvement? Were the students appropriately taught science methods?

Introduction and Background

The American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) has been at the forefront of K- 12 Science Education. An Engineering K-12 Center presentation “Why K-12 Engineering?”1 suggests there are many benefits for teachers to incorporate engineering in their curriculum. They include1:

Engineering is Academic Glue – it binds complex math and science concepts for real-world experiences and leads to learning that sticks with students.

Engineering is Creativity – the need for problem-solving and innovation brings out the best ideas from every student.

Engineering is Group Work – students learn to communicate and work together while they learn math and science by applying engineering principles.

High, K., & Beller, C., & Fry, P., & Redmond, A. (2006, June), Can An Engineer Teach Elementary Education Majors How To Teach Science And Engineering? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1110

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: © 2006 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