June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.555.1 - 24.555.14
Examination of Integrated STEM Curricula as a Means Toward Quality K-12 Engineering Education (Research to Practice)Energy behind the push to increase the quantity, quality, and reach of engineering education atthe K-12 level continues to mount. At the same time, more and more schools are looking toenhance their existing science and mathematics instruction by integrating those subjects withtechnology and engineering. The Next Generation Science Standards, published in the earlysummer of 2013, encourage teachers to emphasize the connections between science andengineering and explicitly include learning objectives focused on engineering (NGSS LeadStates, 2013). As states begin to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards or simply look toadd more engineering to their own standards, the need for curricula that integrate the STEMdisciplines will continue to grow. But as integrated STEM curricula are developed, specificallyfor use in science classrooms, we must continually consider the nature of the engineering thatappears in these curricula. In this study, we examine several such curricula in an effort todescribe and characterize the engineering education contained within.As part of an NSF funded curriculum and professional development project, 48 middle schoolscience teachers in three different urban and suburban districts worked with faculty and graduatestudent partners in developing integrated STEM units for their elementary or middle schoolscience classes. The professional development portion of the program provided the severalexample curricula as well as background on engineering and the pedagogical skills necessary tosuccessfully implement this type of curriculum. The teachers then took this knowledge, and insmall groups, worked to create integrated STEM units specifically for their schools and classes.This effort resulted in 22 unique science units, each of which was meant to be centered on anengineering design challenge. Using document analysis, we examined these units to determinethe nature and quality of the engineering the teachers had infused. Our meter stick for qualityengineering came from the Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education (AuthorBlinded, 2013). We examined each curriculum module for evidence of the key indicatorscontained in the framework, and used this to determine the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps inthe engineering embedded in these units. The paper will present the results of this analysis alongwith brief descriptions of several of the units. Implications for developing engineering withinintegrated STEM units as well as teaching engineering through this type of curricula will bediscussed.ReferencesAuthor Blinded. (2013). Conference PaperNGSS Lead States. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Glancy, A. W., & Moore, T. J., & Guzey, S. S., & Mathis, C. A., & Tank, K. M., & Siverling, E. A. (2014, June), Examination of Integrated STEM Curricula as a Means Toward Quality K-12 Engineering Education (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20446
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