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North Texas Stem Center: An Engineers Perspective

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teac

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.934.1 - 13.934.7



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Paper Authors

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James Morgan Texas A&M University

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Luciana Barroso Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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

North Texas-STEM Center: An Engineer’s Perspective


Can engineering professors really help high school teachers? We think YES – college freshman are little different than high school seniors in terms of academic and social development. The experiences from National Science Foundation funded engineering coalitions, as well as other engineering education projects over the past couple decades, can certainly apply to math and science education at the high school level. Moreover, the projects used in first year engineering courses can be used to bring “reality” to the interdisciplinary project-based learning initiatives in secondary education. Faculty, both high school and college, can work together: • to design learning experiences for students; • to explore alternative teaching pedagogies; • to explore strategies for motivating students (& teachers): and • to find ways to connect learning for the students.

The benefits are by no means one-way from the university into the high-school. Engineering programs benefit from (1) students who are better prepared academically, (2) an increased understanding by both students and teachers of what the engineering profession does, (3) techniques for motivating students unsure of “why they need…”, and (4) a better understanding of where their future students are coming from.

The North Texas-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) center is a partnership of our university and a Dallas Independent School District (DISD) that establishes a center for STEM education that will research, create, and provide information on best practices for innovative teaching and learning. Our strategy is to create campus design teams, bringing together school administrators, teachers, students, STEM professors, STEM business partners, community-based informal STEM institutions such as museums and existing science networks in order to provide opportunity for interaction between all of these stakeholders. The products of those interactions will include: development of curriculum, implementation of that curriculum, examination of those curricula for effectiveness and distribution of those best practices across the region and the state. Campuses include math/science academies and low performing urban schools. Our goal is to work in these “laboratory school” design teams to find effective solutions. Our belief is: solutions that are effective in these schools (ranging from academies to low- performing schools) will impact STEM education in Texas schools and across the nation.


There has been increasing concern over the possibility that lack of preparation will reduce the ability of the United States to compete in a world where the international economic playing field is now “more level” than it has ever been1. The Texas High School Project (THSP)2 was created address this need by boosting graduation rates and increasing the number of Texas high school students prepared for college, work, and citizenship. The THSP focuses its efforts on high-need schools and districts statewide, with an emphasis on urban areas and the Texas-Mexico border. Public and private organizations in the THSP include the Texas Education Agency, the

Morgan, J., & Barroso, L. (2008, June), North Texas Stem Center: An Engineers Perspective Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4256

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