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Making Elementary Engineering Work: Partnerships and Practice, North Carolina State University

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Making Elementary Engineering Work: Lessons from Partnerships and Practice

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1033.1 - 22.1033.10



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Paper Authors


Elizabeth A. Parry North Carolina State University

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Elizabeth Parry is a K-12 STEM curriculum and professional development consultant and the coordinator of K-20 STEM Partnership Development at North Carolina State University's College of Engineering. She has more than 25 years of experience in industry and STEM education. Prior to her current position, Ms. Parry was the project director of RAMP-UP, an NSF and GE funded project focused on increasing math achievement in K-12 through the use of collaboration between undergraduate and graduate STEM students and classroom teachers. She is an active member of ASEE, NCTM, NSTA, and ITEEA. Ms. Parry is currently the chair elect of the ASEE K-12 and Pre-college Division and a member of the Triangle Coalition Board of Directors.

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Making Elementary Engineering Work: Lessons from Partnerships and Practice—Higher Education Institution in North CarolinaThe interest in implementing engineering principles in elementary school is growing at a rapidrate. Because children are both naturally curious and creative, engineering design challenges canbe an effective and innovative vehicle for students to demonstrate knowledge. Educators, eagerto find new and different ways to increase student engagement and achievement, see engineeringas a potentially powerful tool in the teacher’s toolkit. However, the challenges are many,including varying degrees of teacher preparation in science, little to no knowledge of engineeringat the elementary level and no time to add an additional and untested subject to the alreadycrowded academic day. This paper will discuss the efforts of Higher Education Institute in NorthCarolina since 2003 to increase the knowledge and use of engineering principles in the state ofNorth Carolina, primarily through the implementation of the Engineering is Elementary (EiE)curriculum program.The development of a technologically literate citizenry is imperative to not only our nation’sfuture but also our national security. EiE is an effective tool for developing this literacy and forinstilling in elementary aged children the skills to work in teams, solve problems and make datadriven decisions, all important 21st century skills. In addition, the program is suitable for allstudents—an important factor in both career preparation and workforce development. Theauthor has worked with the developers of EiE since the first year of the program and now servesas a professional development provider, National Field Test site coordinator and Hub Sitecoordinator. The paper will discuss how EiE has been implemented, by correlating specific unitsto grade level science objectives, in a number of schools in North Carolina. Several hundredteachers have been trained and use the program in a variety of both in and out of schoolimplementations. This past year, a federal earmark of $100,000 was awarded to the author andour institution to further expand the training and implementation across our state over the nexttwo years.The paper will discuss the importance of the partnerships formed, the challenges faced inmultifaceted implementations and the differences in implementing engineering at the elementaryvs. the secondary level. Specifically, the roles and responsibilities of curriculum developers, K-12 administrators and teachers, parents, industry and higher education with respect to these threeareas will be delineated.

Parry, E. A. (2011, June), Making Elementary Engineering Work: Partnerships and Practice, North Carolina State University Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18314

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