June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
13.636.1 - 13.636.16
Gearing up for the future: A K- 12/University Partnership to Create an Engineering Magnet Elementary School
This paper will describe the genesis of a new engineering themed magnet school in New Hanover County, North Carolina. A parent choice school assignment plan was adopted by the school system two years ago, immediately creating several extremely high needs schools in the downtown area. One of these schools, Rachel Freeman Elementary, gets the majority of its students from a nearby subsidized housing project. This year, the school is over 85% African American and over 75% of the students qualify for the federal free and reduced price lunch program.
Rachel Freeman administrators made the decision to convert the school to an engineering magnet using the Engineering is Elementary curriculum developed by the Boston Museum of Science as its basis for engineering instruction. The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University was brought in as a professional development partner to train staff in project based learning, engineering problem solving, the Engineering is Elementary curriculum and the use of engineering notebooks. The team developed a summer workshop and ongoing regular curriculum support plan that is now in process.
The paper will describe the development of the partnership, the collaboration between these two partners, as well as others who have been instrumental in developing similar programs elsewhere in the country, and the progress to date. The burgeoning interest in engineering magnet programs, in North Carolina an elsewhere, makes this topic timely. Even though this school/university partnership is in its first year of full implementation, the need to convey progress to date is vital. Future publications will share evaluation results at all levels as well as progress.
One of the well-documented challenges faced by today’s K-12 educational system is the underrepresentation of minorities and low income students in higher level mathematics and science courses. The resulting effect of few students from these demographic groups pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields is of enormous concern to many people both inside and outside of STEM. In addition the poor performance of American students, including our best and brightest, on international comparative assessments is alarming. But retention of knowledge is not the measure of most concern. Rather, it is the lackluster performance of American 15 year olds on the two most recent Programme for 1 International Student Assessment (PISA) assessments , which measures how well students can apply the knowledge they have gained, that is the strongest indicator of the need for major changes in the way K-12 students are taught.
The long time and accepted methods of pedagogy practiced in today’s classrooms were developed for an industrial revolution era society. Relying on the efficacy of traditional direct and deductive instruction to effectively teach all students is an erroneous generalization whose lack of e is demonstrated in lower No Child Left Behind (NCLB) test scores for certain
Parry, E., & Bottomley, L., & Miars, E., & Day, L. (2008, June), Gearing Up For The Future: A K 12/University Partnership To Create An Engineering Magnet Elementary School Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4010
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