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Lessons Learned In A University Public School Partnership For Teaching Engineering In Grades 2 6

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

College Engineering K-12 Outreach III

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.894.1 - 10.894.11



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Paper Authors

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Judith Miller

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Paula Quinn

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Jill Rulfs

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John Orr

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

Lessons Learned in a University-Public School Partnership for Teaching Engineering in Grades 2-6

John A. Orr, Judith Miller, Jill Rulfs, Paula Quinn Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Abstract Worcester Polytechnic Institute is conducting an NSF-funded GK-12 program titled "K-6 Gets a Piece of the PIEE (Partnerships Implementing Engineering Education).” The goals include (1) assisting the Worcester Public School System to implement curricula in engineering and technology at the elementary level, and (2) providing in-depth involvement with K-6 education to WPI graduate and undergraduate students as they pursue their own technical education. At the mid-point of the project, this paper reports the lessons learned in managing this rather large and complex project which brings together two quite different educational institutions. The results to date have been quite positive.

Introduction In 2003 WPI began a three-year project, "K-6 Gets a Piece of the PIEE (Partnerships Implementing Engineering Education)." This project is funded by the NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program, the goal of which is to involve engineering graduate students with K-12 science and engineering education. Some small number of these graduate students will decide to pursue careers in K-12 education, but for most, the intense exposure provided by the Fellowship program should lead to increased involvement with K-12 education throughout their careers. This paper summarizes lessons that the program directors and participants have learned after one and one half years of experience with the program, and provides recommendations to others considering such activities. Feedback from all involved (fellows, WPI faculty, elementary principals and teachers, and public school administrators) has been overwhelmingly positive. Quantitative assessment work is underway, and will be reported separately.

Project Background and Current Status The overall goal of the NSF GK-12 program is to prepare engineering graduate students who are informed about K-12 education and who have the interest and knowledge to enable them to remain engaged in K-12 education in some manner throughout their professional careers. This represents a new approach to the pipeline issues in technical education with which NSF has long been involved. In addition to the positive impact on the graduate fellows (who are the major target of the NSF program), there will also be the direct impacts on the students and teachers with whom the fellows interact. Our project has three primary objectives: 1. To develop partnerships between the Worcester Public School (WPS) system and WPI;

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, J., & Quinn, P., & Rulfs, J., & Orr, J. (2005, June), Lessons Learned In A University Public School Partnership For Teaching Engineering In Grades 2 6 Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15532

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