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Determining the Engineering Knowledge Dimension: What all High School Students Should Know to be Engineering Literate (Fundamental)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Modeling, Inquiry, Engineering Literacy & Argumentation

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Tanner J. Huffman College of New Jersey

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Tanner Huffman is an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative STEM Education, School of Engineering at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Before joining the faculty at TCNJ, Dr. Huffman was the Director of Research, Assessment and Special Projects at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA). While at ITEEA, he secured funding from the National Science Foundation, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, the Utah governor's office of economic development, and various private foundations with the goal to provide high quality STEM curriculum and professional development to all students. Dr. Huffman continues to serve ITEEA as Senior Advisor. He is a strong advocate for K-12 Engineering Education with experience as a middle and high school Engineering and Technology Education teacher and a focus on social relevance and empowerment. Dr. Huffman is a committee member on the National Academy of Engineering project “Educator Capacity Building in PreK-12 Engineering Education”. He has served as a board member for ASEE’s PCEE Division and as an advisor for Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab Satellite Network.

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Greg J. Strimel Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Greg J. Strimel is an assistant professor of engineering/technology teacher education in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. His prior teaching experience includes serving as a high school engineering/technology teacher and a teaching assistant professor within the College of Engineering & Mineral Resources at West Virginia University.

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Michael Grubbs Baltimore County Public Schools

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Supervisor of Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology Education for Baltimore County Public Schools.

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The last decade has seen an emergence of engineering education in US elementary, middle and high schools. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC 2012) suggests placing engineering design on equal footing with science inquiry. The technology education community evolved with a name change of its professional organization to include engineering—now known as the International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA). As reported by the 2017 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Americans overwhelming (82%) view technology and engineering education as an important indicator of school quality (PDK International, 2017). Furthermore, previous work by the National Research Council supports the teaching of engineering habits of mind and skills (NRC, 2009; Snieder & Rosen, 2009) in P-12 classrooms. However, while ITEEA’s Standards for Technological Literacy (2000/2002/2007) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) provide guidance for the teaching of engineering in both technology and science classrooms respectively, a clear national delineation of P-12 engineering knowledge eludes educators. In addition, little is known about how students’ progress through engineering learning beyond the context of science, math, or technology education. Therefore, the establishment of a coherent P-12 study of engineering, requires an accurate, comprehensive, yet deep dive into the appropriate scaffolding of content knowledge (Grubbs, Strimel & Huffman, 2017). To address this issue, ITEEA and the ASEE Precollege Division jointly sponsored the 2017 Advancing Excellence in P-12 Engineering Education (AEEE) Symposium which brought together more than 40 experts from various backgrounds (practicing engineers, higher education engineering faculty, secondary engineering/technology teachers, secondary school administrators and curriculum specialists, teacher education faculty, engineering students, higher education engineering administrators, and diversity specialists) to contribute to the development of the Framework of P-12 Engineering Literacy. The goal of the framework is to provide a coherent view of the Dimensions of Engineering Literacy for P-12 education which includes the dimensions of knowledge, skills, and habits of mind (Grubbs et al). The primary focus of the symposium was to validate, review, and modify the engineering knowledge taxonomy. Participants were given findings from a three-round modified Delphi study, which was completed in preparation for the symposium, to guide and inform their discussions and decisions. Using prompts and guiding questions, participants determined what types of engineering knowledge (including engineering, math, science and technological concepts) are essential to the study of engineering literacy and appropriate for high school learners. As a result of the symposium, a refined draft Engineering Knowledge taxonomentric structure was developed that includes: fundamental and technical elements; eight content organizers (e.g. Engineering Design, Quantitative Analysis, Mechanical); core concepts (e.g. prototyping, measurement and precision, material classifications); and sub concepts (e.g. additive manufacturing, product assembly, stress-strain analysis) for high school engineering education. This paper will provide the rationale for the symposium, describe the dimensions of engineering literacy, present the preliminary results from the Delphi study and symposium, define the Engineering Knowledge taxonometric structure, and discuss the development of progressions of learning for secondary engineering.

Huffman, T. J., & Strimel, G. J., & Grubbs, M. (2018, June), Determining the Engineering Knowledge Dimension: What all High School Students Should Know to be Engineering Literate (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30288

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