Asee peer logo

Linking the E and M in STEM

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering Across the K-12 Curriculum: Integration with the Arts, Social Studies, Sciences, and the Common Core

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.869.1 - 24.869.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Elise K. Morgan Museum of Science Boston, Engineering is Elementary

author page

Erin M. Fitzgerald Museum of Science

author page

Jonathan D. Hertel Engineering is Elementary, Museum of Science, Boston

Download Paper |


Linking the E and M in STEMWith the emergence of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English LanguageArts (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State SchoolOfficers, 2010) and the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS LeadStates, 2013), elementary school teachers are under more pressure to follow nationallydetermined learning goals. Many areas of these new standards, such as the Standards forMathematical Practice in the CCSS and the Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS,focus on the “real world” application of content and skills. Elementary teachers are increasinglyworking to integrate content areas, often focusing on math and science, in order to emphasize thereal world application of learning goals for students. According to Davison, Miller, and Metheny(1995), “the key thought behind this process [of integration] is to develop relevancy andapplicability of the disciplines to the existing student experiences. The ‘doing’ of mathematicsand the ‘doing’ of science creates a new way for students to look at the world.” This paper willfollow the development, implementation, and impact of a 2-day professional developmentworkshop for teachers designed to build their skills in meaningfully integrating math andengineering topics in their elementary classrooms.Prior to development of this professional development workshop, elementary teachers wereasked in an online survey how they currently integrate different content areas in their classrooms,what support they are seeking to further develop their skills in doing so, which content areas theywould like to integrate, and how they define the term “meaningful integration.” 74% of teacherssurveyed indicated that the area where they desired the most support was in integratingengineering topics into the CCSS for Mathematics, and 71% of teachers said that they would findan organizational tool helpful for planning integrated lessons for their students. Teachers agreedthat integration can improve teaching and make learning more meaningful, but struggled todefine what it means to “meaningfully” integrate and had conflicting examples of meaningfulintegration in practice.The professional development workshop was developed in response to the teacher needsindicated by the survey and set the following goals for teacher participants:  Construct a common understanding of engineering, and experience how engineering activities can be facilitated in the elementary classroom.  Describe how math relates to engineering, and explore ways to use math applications to augment engineering activities in a meaningful way.  Practice integrating an engineering design challenge with grade-level math learning goals, and provide feedback on other participants’ integration plans.A pilot workshop was held in summer 2013 and the second pilot workshop will be held in latefall 2013, with a new cohort of teachers. Evaluation consisted of post-workshop surveys and in-person focus groups, as well as online surveys administered after the workshop. This paper willfurther detail the initial needs teachers expressed regarding integration and the subsequentdevelopment of the workshop to meet those expressed needs, as well as teachers’ reactions to theworkshop experience and their described plans for math and engineering integration followingthe workshop.

Morgan, E. K., & Fitzgerald, E. M., & Hertel, J. D. (2014, June), Linking the E and M in STEM Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22802

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: © 2014 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