Asee peer logo

Developing an Engineering Design Course for Rural Middle School Students: Implementation Strategies and Lessons Learned

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Tameshia Ballard Baldwin North Carolina State University at Raleigh

visit author page

Dr. Tameshia Ballard Baldwin is an Assistant Teaching Professor working jointly in the College of Engineering and in the Department of STEM Education within the College of Education at North Carolina State University. She earned a B.S. in Biological Engineering from North Carolina State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Baldwin's primary focus is working across the Colleges of Engineering and Education on engineering education related initiatives. She teaches undergraduate courses in the First Year Engineering Program and in the Department of STEM Education. Dr. Baldwin's research interests include self-efficacy, motivation and persistence of underrepresented populations in STEM and engineering design in K-12.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In early 2020, a research collaboration between a college of engineering, a research institute, a pre-college STEM program, a rural school district, and the local advanced manufacturing industry began. The goal of this Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) project was to create community-based engineering design experiences for underserved middle school students (grades 6-8) from rural NC aimed to improve their cognitive (STEM content knowledge and career awareness) and non-cognitive (interest, self-efficacy, and STEM identity) outcomes, and ultimately lead to their increased participation in STEM fields, particularly engineering. The project leverages strategic partnerships to create a 3-part, grade-level specific Engineering Design and Exploration course that engages middle school students in authentic engineering design experiences that allow them to research, design, and problem-solve in a simulated advanced manufacturing environment.

Shortly after receiving university approval to begin the research process, progress was halted due to an unprecedented global health crisis. The school district was closed for several weeks as administrators and teachers prepared to transition to remote learning. In addition, the district experienced unexpected teacher and administrator turnover. In the wake of such uncertainty, the partners have pivoted their research design to work more closely with industry partners while still maintaining an active relationship with the school district as they rebuild. This paper will describe the challenges faced, strategies employed, and lessons learned during the course development and implementation process.

Baldwin, T. B. (2021, July), Developing an Engineering Design Course for Rural Middle School Students: Implementation Strategies and Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36936

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: © 2021 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