Asee peer logo

Engineering In The Elementary School

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.569.1 - 11.569.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jared Berrett Brigham Young University

Download Paper |

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


Introduction Current trends and future projections of engineering in the United States indicate a need to better inform, teach, recruit and prepare our youth for the technological age in which we live. In the book Technically Speaking, Why all Americans need to know more about technology, the first recommendation made by the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council was to further “encourage the integration and increased study of technology in the K-12 content, standards, curricula, instructional materials, and assessments” (2002, p. 105). The Academy also recently published, Educating the Engineer of 2020, which includes recommendations of “supporting efforts to improve math, science, and engineering education at the K-12 level” and “promoting public understanding of engineering and technological literacy” (National Academy of Engineering, 2005, p. 57)

Few states in America require engineering and technology competencies in their state curriculum, and even fewer require any such experiences at the elementary school. In the State of Utah, we have technology and engineering curriculum mandated by the Utah State Board of Education at the 7th – 9th grade levels, but there are no structured efforts to introduce elementary children beyond “science”. At Brigham Young University, the faculty in Technology Teacher Education are dedicated to addressing these issues. Housed in a college of engineering and technology, our program introduces prospective technology education teachers to “real world” teaching in the classroom and hopes to expand technology and engineering in the K-12 curriculum. In order to accomplish this goal, we begin our students teaching in elementary schools, then middle schools, junior highs and finally high schools during their respective years in the program. This paper describes three years of experience in working with 6th grade students in Canyon Crest Elementary School, where our pre-service technology teachers partnered with, developed, and taught integrated technology and engineering units of instruction. We hope that by sharing our action research efforts that we might excite others about the vision and importance of integrating activities in the public schools that promote technological literacy and interest in engineering.

Year 1 – Computer engineering? -- More Like Multimedia Design Determined that engineering and technology would be valuable to an elementary curriculum, in 2003 I set out to find a school that I could partner with. I was turned down by two schools before I found a Principal that was interested. As the Principal of Canyon Crest Elementary School and I began to discuss what it was I wanted, I naturally turned to defining technology and engineering. He listened politely, but suggested that their new iMac computer lab would be a great place to focus. Before accepting the role of teaching computers and information technologies, I made one more plug to teach other technical systems like manufacturing, transportation, construction, and design. I knew that a former teacher had used four modular “Engineering and Technology Curriculum” boxes on wheels to teach a more broad view of technology. I thought it would be a good idea to start with these boxes, but with further discussion it was obvious that the Principal felt it would be best to teach the children how to make multimedia presentations. This is a common challenge for those doing engineering

Berrett, J. (2006, June), Engineering In The Elementary School Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--449

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: © 2006 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