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Engineering As Context For K 12 Science, Mathematics, And Technology Education

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Pre-College Initiatives in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.494.1 - 8.494.8



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Paper Authors

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Lawrence Genalo

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2253

Engineering as Context for K-12 Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education

Lawrence J. Genalo Iowa State University


One way to provide powerful problem-solving experiences in science, mathematics, and technology is to engage students in novel problems that require them to assess a situation and then apply conceptual and procedural knowledge to its solution. Engineering offers an effective context for these problem situations. However, most practicing teachers do not have the knowledge or experience to create meaningful, engineering-based learning experiences. This paper will provide details about a program to enhance the ability of preservice and inservice teachers to make these engineering experiences possible for their future or current K-12 students. Providing teachers the training necessary to make use of such engineering contexts is crucial to the success of curricular improvement. An undergraduate engineering course has been offered for several years that began as an “engineering literacy” course and has developed into the basis for providing meaningful engineering contexts for national standards-based lessons. A graduate level engineering course for inservice teachers during the past three summers has not only provided similar training, but has also helped develop mentoring field experiences among the preservice and inservice teachers. In addition, freshmen Honors Program students take a research mentorship course in the spring of their first year. A group of Honors engineering and science majors are working to create K-12 activities based on engineering context. They are working with the education majors in the course previously mentioned in order to create standards-based, age- appropriate activities. Engineering and education faculty and students, working in teams, through the courses mentioned and the mentorship program, have developed activities that bring authentic learning in engineering contexts to science, mathematics, and technology education. Examples of such standards- based activities will be provided.


“At the heart of our modern technological society lies an unacknowledged paradox. Although the United States is increasingly defined by and dependent on technology and is adopting new technologies at a breathtaking pace, its citizens are not equipped to make well-considered decisions or to think critically about technology. As a society, we are not even fully aware of, or conversant with, the technologies we use every day. In short, we are not ‘technologically literate.’”1 Now more than ever, the United States needs a skilled, technologically literate workforce whose members can address problems with time-tested solutions as well as creative problem solving. Increasing the pool of workers with strong problem-solving skills requires that K- 12 students have experiences in quality science, mathematics, and technology problem-solving environments. The teaching and learning of science should be centered on inquiry-based strategies that incorporate real world experiences. “From the very first day in school students should do science…not study science.”2 Such strategies include the development of science inquiry skills, scientific habits of mind, and communication skills for dealing with the community at large. 3

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Genalo, L. (2003, June), Engineering As Context For K 12 Science, Mathematics, And Technology Education Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11449

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: © 2003 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