Asee peer logo

Educating Elementary Teachers in Engineering: A Design Method and Baseline

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Certifying Teachers in Engineering or Integrated STEM

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.520.1 - 22.520.26



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Yvonne Ng St. Catherine University

visit author page

Yvonne Ng, M.S.M.E., teaches computer science and engineering at St. Catherine University. Educated at Princeton University and the University of Minnesota as a mechanical and aerospace engineer, she worked in industry as an automation design engineer and contract programmer. She made computer science a more appealing topic for her all-women undergraduate student body by presenting this technically valuable course in a project-oriented comprehensive manner. She is currently the director of the Center of Excellence for Women, Science and Technology where she administers the college's National Science Foundation scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors and facilitates various recruiting, advising, and placement activities for STEM majors and minors.

visit author page


Lori R. Maxfield Saint Catherine University

visit author page

Lori R. Maxfield, Ph.D., currently serves as the Associate Dean of Education at St. Catherine University. Before her transition to AD she taught social studies methods for prospective teachers at the elementary, middle school, and senior high levels; science methods for prospective elementary teachers; and also co-taught PHYS 1200 Makin’ and Breakin’: Engineering in Your World with Yvonne Ng. Although her teaching duties have diminished, she still co-teaches with Yvonne Ng in the delivery of a STEM Graduate Certificate focused on engineering for elementary teachers. Her direct experience with the Parallel Curriculum Model includes serving as a National Cadre Curriculum Writer (2002 - 2003) associated with the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Javits Grant. In this capacity, she worked with other writers to identify and to develop curricular units using the Parallel Curriculum Model.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Educating Elementary Teachers in Engineering: A design method and baselineIt’s all over the news: Kindergartners doing engineering before they can even spell the word. Asschool districts and state departments of education bring engineering to the more classrooms,the issue of preparing teachers in engineering becomes a priority. Studies have shown that poorpresentation of engineering can actually do more harm than good: perpetuating stereotypesthat keep engineering interesting to only a small segment of the population or misrepresentingengineering as glorified art, crafts, science or vocational technical projects. Although manymiddle level and senior high classrooms provide students and teachers with opportunities toengage in engineering curriculum, the focus of engineering education at the elementary level issporadic or non-existent.This paper presents 1) how a basic introduction to engineering course designed for generaleducation and potential engineering majors was deliberately improved using the ParallelCurriculum Model (PCM) to align with eight ABET Program Outcomes found in Criterion 3;2) how PCM was also used to carefully structure the curriculum to meet the needs of multiplelearners (general education students, pre-engineering students, elementary education students);3) how we structured the learning activities and assignments to assess student competence,confidence and comfort (“the 3C’s”) with engineering, and 4) how the team teaching model thatincludes an engineering and education faculty member provides enhanced opportunities to useinnovative teaching and assessment strategies. Since this course is now required by elementaryeducation majors at our institution for licensure, the 3C’s are a must for these future teacherswho must teach engineering in their future classroom.Quantitative and qualitative results are presented regarding competence and confidenceregarding the ABET Program Outcomes through test scores and final projects, specifically intheir ability to: a) apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering; b) design andconduct experiments as well as analyze and interpret data to gain new knowledge pertinent tothe problems to solve; c) design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs withinrealistic constraints; d) function on multidisciplinary teams; e) identify, formulate and solveengineering problems; g) communicate effectively; h) understand the impact of engineeringsolutions in their daily lives; and i) engage in life-long learning. Each participated in pre-and post-surveys and reflections. Together, with our formal evaluation through tests andprojects, they provide a baseline for other engineering courses regarding, knowledge, skillsand dispositions necessary for future competent, confident and comfortable elementary schoolteachers of engineering.

Ng, Y., & Maxfield, L. R. (2011, June), Educating Elementary Teachers in Engineering: A Design Method and Baseline Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17801

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: © 2011 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