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Learning Sciences Guided High School Engineering Curriculum Development

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Design Cognition III

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

25.884.1 - 25.884.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21641

Download Count

23

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Paper Authors

biography

Leema Kuhn Berland University of Texas, Austin

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Leema Berland is an Assistant Professor of science education at the University of Texas, Austin. She earned a Ph.D. in the learning sciences from Northwestern University in 2008 and was a Doctoral Fellow with the NSF funded Center for Curriculum Materials in Science (2003-2008). Berland is broadly interested in facilitating and studying students as they engage in complex communication practices. She is currently focused on exploring the dynamics of how and why students are able (or unable) to productively communicate in engineering classrooms, in the context of UTeachEngineering high school classrooms.

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David T. Allen University of Texas, Austin

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David Allen is the Gertz Regents Professor of chemical engineering, and the Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of six books and more than 200 papers in areas ranging from coal liquefaction and heavy oil chemistry to the chemistry of urban atmospheres. For the past decade, his work has focused primarily on urban air quality and the development of materials for environmental and engineering education. Allen was a Lead Investigator for the first and second Texas Air Quality studies, which involved hundreds of researchers drawn from around the world, and which have had a substantial impact on the direction of air quality policies in Texas. He has developed environmental educational materials for engineering curricula and for the University’s core curriculum, as well as engineering education materials for high school students. The quality of his work has been recognized by the National Science Foundation (through the Presidential Young Investigator Award), the AT&T Foundation (through an Industrial Ecology Fellowship), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (through the Cecil Award for contributions to environmental engineering and through the Research Excellence Award of the Sustainable Engineering Forum), the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (through their Distinguished Lecturer Award), and the state of Texas (through the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award). He has won teaching awards at the University of Texas and UCLA. Allen received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering, with distinction, from Cornell University in 1979. His M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering were awarded by the California Institute of Technology in 1981 and 1983. He has held visiting faculty appointments at the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Department of Energy.

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Richard H. Crawford University of Texas, Austin

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Richard H. Crawford is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, and is the Temple Foundation Endowed Faculty Fellow No. 3. He received his B.S.M.E. from Louisiana State University in 1982 and his M.S.M.E. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1989, both from Purdue University. He joined the faculty of UT in Jan. 1990 and teaches mechanical engineering design and geometry modeling for design. Crawford's research interests span topics in computer-aided mechanical design and design theory and methodology, including research in computer representations to support conceptual design, design for manufacture and assembly, and design retrieval; developing computational representations and tools to support exploration of very complex engineering design spaces; research in solid freeform fabrication, including geometric processing, control, design tools, manufacturing applications; and design and development of energy harvesting systems. Crawford is co-founder of the DTEACh program, a Design Technology program for K-12, and is active on the faculty of the UTeachEngineering program that seeks to educate teachers of high school engineering.

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Cheryl Farmer UTeachEngineering

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Cheryl Farmer is the founding Program Manager and Project Director of UTeachEngineering. Funded through a five-year, $12.5 million Math and Science Partnership grant from the National Science Foundation, UTeachEngineering offers a well-designed, well-rounded, design-based high school engineering course that can be implemented at low cost in virtually any setting, as well as a variety of professional development programs for pre-service and in-service teachers who want to add engineering to their teaching portfolio. Prior to co-founding UTeachEngineering, Farmer spent several years managing programs for both K-12 and higher education. Before entering higher education, Farmer worked as a project manager in the environmental field. Her education includes graduate work in mathematics and business administration and a B.A. in mathematics and liberal arts, with highest honors, from the University of Texas, Austin.

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Lisa Guerra NASA Headquarters

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Lisa Guerra has 25 years experience in the NASA aerospace community. Guerra is currently working with the UTeachEngineering program. She recently completed a four-year assignment from NASA headquarters to establish a systems engineering curriculum at the University of Texas, Austin, as a pilot for national dissemination. Her efforts in systems engineering curriculum can be located at http://spacese.spacegrant.org/. Guerra’s most recent position at NASA Headquarters was Director of the Directorate Integration Office in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. In that position, her responsibilities involved strategic planning, international cooperation, cross-directorate coordination, architecture analysis, and exploration control boards. Guerra also spent three years at the Goddard Space Flight Center as Program Integration Manager for future high-energy astrophysics missions, particularly the James Webb Space Telescope. She began her career at the Johnson Space Center working for Eagle Engineering and SAIC, focused on conceptual design of advanced spacecraft for human missions to the moon and Mars. Guerra earned a B.S in aerospace engineering and a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame. She received a master's of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, Austin.

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Abstract

Learning Sciences Guided High School Engineering Curriculum DevelopmentThe NRC report on K-12 engineering education identified three broad goals. In particular, it isexpected that engineering education will: 1.) focus on design and problem solving; 2.)incorporate appropriate STEM concepts and 3.) “promote engineering habits of mind.” Theproposed paper reports upon the efforts of an NSF-funded endeavor to develop a yearlong highschool course that can achieve these goals. This project is being done in a partnership betweenfaculty in the colleges of education and engineering at a large research university.Drawing on lessons learned in the learning sciences, the curriculum is based on a series of designprinciples, including1. Contextualizing all student work within engineering design challenges and using a standardized engineering design process2. Engaging students in meaningful (if simplified) versions of the practices of engineers3. Identifying clear, active, learning goals that drive activity design.4. Ensuring that all learning goals—both the engineering practices and the STEM concepts— are necessary for students’ successful completion of the design projects.5. Designing and discussing challenges in terms of their larger societal impact.The proposed paper will discuss the learning theories grounding each of these principles.In the proposal, we exemplify the reification of these principles with the fourth principle:ensuring that all learning goals are necessary. One of the units in this course asks students toredesign a model of a wind turbine to maximize efficiency under variable wind conditions. Overthe course of the unit design we have removed, revised and added STEM content learning goalsin order to ensure that all STEM content was necessary. For example, an early goal of the unitwas for students to understand how the wind turbine converts mechanical energy to electricalenergy. However, given the constraints of the turbine kit we are using, and the class timeavailable, it gradually became clear that understandings of this conversion would not be used inthe students’ final designs. Instead, students might learn the formulas, concepts, etc., but not beable to use them to make design decisions. This is the exact scenario we hoped to avoid as itcreates a situation in which the background STEM concepts are of secondary import and easy forstudents to ignore. As a result, we removed this learning goal.In other situations, this design principle caused us to enrich learning goals. For example, anotherpreliminary goal for this unit was for students to acquire and analyze data. Within the context ofthe design challenge, this goal became increasingly important and specified, such that studentsare now creating a database of information connecting turbine design to its efficiency as well asdeveloping mathematical models to drive their decision making.This process of aligning learning goals with the design challenge exemplifies the ways in whichwe used learning sciences theories to guide the development of our high school engineeringcourse. The full paper will depict our application of each of the guiding design principles. ReferencesEdelson, D. C. (2001). Learning-for-Use: A framework for the design of technology-supportedinquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(3), 355-85.Krajcik, J., McNeill, K., & Reiser, B. J. (2008). Learning-goals-driven design model: Developingcurriculum materials that align with national standards and incorporate project-based pedagogy.Science Education, 82(1), 32.Ford, M. J. (2006). “Grasp of Practice” as a Reasoning Resource for Inquiry and Nature ofScience Understanding. Science & Education, 17(2-3), 147-177.National Academy of Engineering. (2008). Changing the Conversation: Messages for ImprovingPublic Understanding of Engineering. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.National Academy of Engineering of, & National Research Councile (2009). Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects. (L. Katehi & M. Feder,Eds.). Washington DC: National Academies Press.Schwartz, D. L., & Bransford, J. (1998). A time for telling. Cognition and Instruction, 16(4),475-522.

Berland, L. K., & Allen, D. T., & Crawford, R. H., & Farmer, C., & Guerra, L. (2012, June), Learning Sciences Guided High School Engineering Curriculum Development Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21641

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015