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Incorporating Engineering Into High School Algebra And Trigonometry: An Initiative Of The Georgia Tech Student And Teacher Enhancement Partnership (Step) Program

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Mathematics in the Transition

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.683.1 - 8.683.19



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Paper Authors

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William Robinson

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Demetris Geddis

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Adam Austin

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Donna Llewellyn

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Marion Usselman

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

Session 2665

Incorporating Engineering into High School Algebra and Trigonometry: An Initiative of the Georgia Tech Student and Teacher Enhancement Partnership (STEP) Program

William H. Robinsona, Adam O. Austina, Demetris L. Geddisa, Donna C. Llewellynb, and Marion C. Usselmanc a School of Electrical and Computer Engineering/ b Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)/ c Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) Georgia Institute of Technology


There is a growing awareness among educators that engineering can enhance the K-12 curriculum by providing “real world” scenarios that help develop problem-solving skills in students. This paper presents activities designed to incorporate engineering concepts into high school mathematics education. Three graduate students of Georgia Tech’s Student and Teacher Enhancement Partnership (STEP) program directly assisted high school mathematics teachers to develop hands-on approaches for algebra and trigonometry classes. These laboratory activities were incorporated into the normal lesson plan. Both the high school students and teachers benefited from using laboratory activities to demonstrate specific principles such as linearity and trigonometric functions.

1. Introduction

As our society becomes increasingly technology oriented, we depend ever more upon a solid educational foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Dr. Robert Moses, Director of the Algebra Project, argues that proficiency in mathematics is required as a functional member of society: “In the Age of Computers, Algebra is a passport for passage into virtually every avenue of the job market and every street of schooling.”[1] Trigonometric functions are also used throughout science and engineering. Unfortunately, research presented by Hsiu-Zu Ho describes a “math anxiety” that negatively affects the performance of students[2] and effectively bars them from entering careers that require a firm knowledge of mathematics. To counter this anxiety and improve student achievement, Alan Greenspan encourages “a deeper interaction with numbers and their manipulation to a point at which students are confident and proud of their level of skills.”[3]

To emphasize the interrelated nature of STEM concepts, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics calls for a “shift in emphasis from a curriculum dominated by memorization of isolated facts and procedures and by proficiency with paper-and-pencils skills to one that

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Robinson, W., & Geddis, D., & Austin, A., & Llewellyn, D., & Usselman, M. (2003, June), Incorporating Engineering Into High School Algebra And Trigonometry: An Initiative Of The Georgia Tech Student And Teacher Enhancement Partnership (Step) Program Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12459

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