June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.642.1 - 15.642.20
High School Enterprise: Authentic Engineering Experiences in Secondary Education Abstract
The need for more, and better prepared, individuals entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is well documented by several organizations.1 High School Enterprise (HSE) is an extra- or in-curricular school activity in which students from grades 9-12 engage in authentic, inquiry-based STEM learning. Students participate on teams organized as virtual companies that develop products or services. Team projects are STEM-based and continue for one or more academic years. Teams are coached by specially-trained high school teachers who are paid similarly to athletic coaches. At the conclusion of their HSE experiences, we expect that HSE team members will demonstrate proficiency in applied workforce skills; will be more disposed to enter STEM related careers; and will be better prepared to successfully undertake the training needed for these careers. An HSE implementation is a partnership among the team, its home institution, a university partner, and industry and community sponsors and advisors. HSE is modeled on a highly successful and nationally recognized undergraduate inquiry-based engineering program which started as a NSF funded pilot at Michigan Technological University. The undergraduate program (Enterprise) is now a self-sustaining program that attracts engineering and other STEM-discipline students to higher education, retains them, and makes them more marketable to employers when they graduate. The high school program described in this paper is currently funded by two NSF awards, IEECI and ITEST, with the expectation that it, too, will become self sustaining through private and corporate funds. There are currently twelve high school sites (ten in Michigan, one in Georgia, and one in Puerto Rico) and three universities participating. The program, which is now in Year 3 of a five-year pilot, is undergoing extensive external assessment to evaluate outcomes, with preliminary data available in early 2010. This paper will present program details, profiles of HSE teams, and the analysis of available data pertaining to program goals.
Program Overview and Background
High School Enterprise (HSE) is an extra- or in-curricular school program in which students from grades 9-12 engage in active, applied STEM learning. Students participate on teams organized as “virtual companies” that develop products or services as they engage in long-term projects with a STEM focus. HSE team projects are STEM-based but involve students from all backgrounds and with a variety of interests. HSE teams are coached by specially-trained high school teachers called “teacher-coaches.” Teams have access to real-world expertise and mentoring from professionals in academia and industry. HSE teams write business plans, solve real-world problems, perform testing and analyses, build prototypes, manufacture parts, operate within budgets, and manage their projects. Each spring, HSE teams showcase their work alongside college students at the Michigan Tech’s Undergraduate Expo. At the conclusion of their HSE experiences, it is expected that the students will demonstrate proficiency in applied workforce skills, they will be more disposed to enter STEM careers, and they will be prepared to undertake the training and education needed to enter these careers.
Oppliger, D., & Kampe, J., & Troesch, V. (2010, June), High School Enterprise: Authentic Engineering Experiences In Secondary Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16002
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