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Engineering and Science Practices of Stormwater Problems for High School STEM Education (RTP)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Fundamental & Research-to-Practice: K-12 Engineering Resources: Best Practices in Curriculum Design (Part 2)

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Mohamad Musavi University of Maine

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Mohamad Musavi is the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Maine. Previously, he was the Chair and a Professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He is the Principal Investigator of a NSF-EPSCoR award to engage secondary school students and teachers, especially female and minority students, in innovative engineering solutions to storm water. He has been working with Maine high schools in the developing and establishing STEM academies.

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Cary Edward James University of Maine

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Mr. Cary James has a BS in chemistry and an MS in Plant Pathology. He has received numerous teaching awards including the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Teacher of the Year for Maine 2009, Pulp and Paper Foundation Maine Teacher Award 2009, New England Institute of Chemistry Maine State Teacher Award 2011, New England Water Environmental Association Public Educator Award 2013, and has received the Francis Crowe Society Honorary Engineering Degree from the University of Maine 2010. Recently he presented a lecture on High School Students as Water Researchers at the Climate Change and the Future of Water Conference in Abu Dhabi. His students have excelled in many national and international level science competitions including the 2010 National Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) winner and the 2011 Bjorn von Euler Innovation in Water Scholarship winner. Both students represented the United States at the International SJWP in Stockholm Sweden. Mr. James has a passion for improving the quality of water for people in developing countries and has focused student research on water sanitation and conservation. In the classroom he works to differentiate instruction for students using an evidenced based inquiry approach.

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Paige Elizabeth Brown Bangor High School

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Paige Brown is a senior at Bangor High School in Bangor, Maine and a member of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program at her high school. She enjoys hiking and camping, and is a member of the student council, swim team, math team, and science bowl team. She recently represented Maine at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) in Washington D.C., the International Sustainable World – Energy, Engineering, Environment – Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP) in Houston, the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition (SJWP) in Washington D.C. Furthermore, she spoke at a K-12 Educational Workshop at the American Society for Engineering Education Conference (ASEE) in Seattle, and at the 2015 Unity College Climate Science Workshop. She hopes to study chemical engineering and continue to pursue research in college.

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This paper describes a program to encourage high school students, especially female and under-represented minorities (URM), to participate in hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The program provides a learning model for science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It empowers students, and their teachers and communities, to create innovative solutions to a pervasive environmental problem: stormwater. This has been achieved by actively engaging participants with STEM professionals in an inquiry and project based instructional environment. Using the latest sensor technology for data collection and computer modeling for data analysis, students address the widespread problem of stormwater management. During a 5-day Stormwater Institute at the University of Maine, the participants gain the knowledge of working with wireless sensors and laboratory systems to collect water measurements, including temperature, conductivity, pH, phosphorous, dissolved oxygen, and bacteria. The students then can map water quality around several Maine communities and investigate innovative solutions to local stormwater issues. Each year, about 60 students and 15 teachers from several high schools with diverse backgrounds, including females—who are under-represented in most STEM fields, socio-economically disadvantaged, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are participating in this NSF funded project that began in 2014. Stormwater runoff is a pressing and expensive problem. The model presented in this paper - STEM solution-focused with diverse citizen involvement - will have nation-wide applicability and appeal.

Musavi, M., & James, C. E., & Brown, P. E. (2016, June), Engineering and Science Practices of Stormwater Problems for High School STEM Education (RTP) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26618

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