June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.377.1 - 24.377.2
Designing Engineering Curriculum for Pre-Service Teachers in preparation for NGSS (Curriculum Exchange)In preparation for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a team of teachers, scienceeducators, science professors, and engineering professors at a comprehensive polytechnicuniversity are collaboratively developing engineering modules for pre-service teachers in theLiberal Studies major. These engineering modules are designed to expose future teachers to thefield of engineering and to serve as examples of hands-on activities that could later be used intheir K-12 classrooms. The associated pedagogy of open-ended design challenges in meaningfulcontext and the iterative engineering design cycle are also part of the curriculum. Hands-onengineering design activities are to be integrated into the existing 3-course science sequence forLiberal Studies majors over the course of their first year.The start of the engineering curriculum involves having the pre-service teachers generate userpersonas of a scientist and an engineer. This activity reveals similarities and differences ofscience and engineering, including misconceptions and stereotypes. Students will also gainexperiences of learning and doing science vs. engineering. Within the Physical Sciences course,pre-service teachers learn about forces, air resistance, and drag, but are also introduced to anengineering design challenge (adapted from an Engineering is Elementary module). A medicaldrop mission is announced, and teams must design a parachute to drop sensitive medicalequipment and personnel into a remote village recuperating from a devastating tsunami. Theequipment must not be broken and medical personnel must survive the drop, and thus a slowdrop rate is desired. Students are asked to first brainstorm the most important factors to designthe parachute for this application. A set of materials is made available for prototype testing andfor final design builds.The in-class parachute activity is broken into 3 phases, and occurs over 2 days of class. The firstphase involves 3 types of jigsaw groups to examine the effect of the parachute canopy size, thecanopy material, and the suspension line length. For this phase, the groups investigate only onedesign variable on the effect of drop speed. The second phase of the activity has the teamsreassemble with different jigsaw experiences to share results and combine their efforts to designand build the optimal parachute. However, a parachute packing score is also introduced todemonstrate the trade-offs that occur in most engineering designs. The parachute and suspensionlines are constrained by size, and a calculation is made to represent the packing efficiency. Theteams then test their designs, before the third phase of improving the parachute design. A debriefof the activity is done with the entire class. In addition, each team is asked to reflect on theirprocess of the design activity and to construct their own representation of the engineering designprocess, and to share it with the rest of the class.Parachute designs, activity handouts, and assessment results will be shared at the CurriculumExchange.
Bergen, A. M., & Chen, K. C. (2014, June), Designing Engineering Curriculum for Pre-Service Teachers in preparation for NGSS: Medical Mission Drop (Curriculum Exchange) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20268
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