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Engineers Serving Education: Bringing Math and Science to Life in the K-8 Classroom

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Service as an Element of Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.565.1 - 25.565.7



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Paper Authors


Stephen Rippon Arizona State University

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Steve Rippon is the Assistant Dean of Student Services in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. In this capacity, he oversees the engineering schools’ K-12 outreach, undergraduate student recruitment, undergraduate engagement programs, and the Engineering Career Center.

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James Collofello Arizona State University

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Engineers Serving Education: Bringing Math and Science to Life in the K-8 ClassroomAbstractMany sources note the rapid erosion in the United States’ competitiveness in science,technology, and engineering. They caution that the U.S. position as a global leader may beabruptly lost without a greatly expanded commitment to achieving success in advancededucation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The 2007 seminalreport regarding STEM education and careers, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”, makesnumerous recommendations in long-term approaches to remedying this quandary. Primary tothese recommendations is the need to increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving PreK-12 STEM education.The teachers college and the engineering school at a large state university are developing asustainable long-term partnership to reinvigorate STEM education in their state’s K-8 schoolsand to engage and excite youth in preparing for futures in STEM-related careers. By combiningthe technical expertise and resources of the engineering school with the educational expertise andresources of the teachers college, the “Engineers Serving Education” initiative is currentlytraining approximately 250 teacher candidates (formerly known as student teachers) in theprinciples of STEM education with the prospect of doubling that number during the 2012-13academic year.The teachers college recently reformed its undergraduate teacher preparation programs. A fullyear, full-time student teaching experience is a signature component of this new teacherpreparation program. Beginning July 2011, 500 teacher candidates began their full-yearapprenticeship under the guidance of university faculty and mentor teachers in 18 local schooldistricts.In its commitment to this collaboration, the engineering school is working with colleagues in theteachers college to train the teacher candidates and their mentor teachers in the engineeringdesign process and in the preparation and delivery of integrated STEM units that bring to life themathematics and science lessons that they deliver to their students. Faculty in the engineeringschool and the teachers college are meeting with teacher candidates each month throughout theschool year to introduce engineering concepts and to model instructional strategies necessary toimplement project-based learning and integrated STEM education in the elementary schoolclassroom. Each of the 250 teacher candidates, under the direction of their mentor teachers, isdelivering 8 STEM units, impacting nearly 7,000 students overall during the 2011-2012 schoolyear. Trained engineering students are assisting the teacher candidates and mentor teachers withdelivering the STEM units and are serving as role models for the K-8 students.This paper inspects the rationale for this collaboration and reviews the mechanics behinddelivering such an innovative and far-reaching initiative. It will also take a close look at thecollaborative roles played by elementary education faculty, engineering outreach staff,engineering education faculty, and elementary school teachers. The paper will also delineate thetools used to assess not only the impact on teacher candidates and the teacher mentors, but alsothose used to measure K-8 students’ change in perception and value of STEM-related activitiesand studies, the increase in math and science aptitude, and the impact on students’ long-termprogress toward STEM-related studies and careers.

Rippon, S., & Collofello, J. (2012, June), Engineers Serving Education: Bringing Math and Science to Life in the K-8 Classroom Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21322

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