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Outcomes of a Systems Engineering Project for K-12 Teachers

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

26.1213.1 - 26.1213.13

DOI

10.18260/p.24550

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24550

Download Count

190

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Paper Authors

biography

Greg Bartus Stevens Institute of Technology

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Greg is an Adjunct Teaching Professor and Senior Curriculum and Professional Development Specialist in STEM Education for the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology. Greg has an MAT and BS in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University.

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biography

Frank T. Fisher Stevens Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4476-5040

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Frank T. Fisher is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-Director of the Nanotechnology Graduate Program (www.stevens.edu/nano) at Stevens. He has been awarded the NSF CAREER award, the ASEE Mechanics Division Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russell Johnson Jr. Outstanding New Educator Award, and the 2009 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Stevens Alumni Association.

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Abstract

Title: Outcomes of a Systems Engineering Project for K­12 Teachers   While most K­12 teachers have little component engineering experience, the context of a systems engineering project can address this and provide a richer experience that engages science, math, engineering and 21st century skills such as collaboration and communication. To introduce teachers to the field of systems engineering, teachers (grades 3­8) participated in a course that focused, in part, on systems engineering (SE).   The final project was to design a classroom model of a wind farm, including designing the turbines and electric grid.    Our goals were threefold:   ● Provide teachers with an authentic systems engineering experience  ● Provide teachers with an authentic component engineering design experience  ● Encourage quantitative analysis during integration and optimization  Teams of 10 were given 20+ hours to develop a final presentation for outside customers. Instructors were available as advisors only; teams selected the Systems Engineer and indentified individual roles for focused attention on targeted components or subsystems. Reflections were collected from the students and customers.    We learned valuable lessons regarding system decomposition and integration. Teachers had some relevant science and math knowledge of the components. However, they were not skilled or experienced enough to respond to, or anticipate, integration obstacles. In addition, although system integration is a documented problematic phase, we observed that a lack of efficacy in component testing mixed with external (time) constraints led to a more trial and error approach.  As classroom teachers, they reflected an ability to recognize some engineering systems thinking skills such as systems (or circular or holistic) thinking in managing the project and valuing the customer. Feedback from the teachers suggests that this will impact their K­12 teaching; first, by replicating this project, but also by applying systems engineering to other projects such as aquaponics and solar houses. We are currently supporting the teachers in their classrooms to help them implement these ideas.   This case study will present our approach, the lessons learned from our experiences, and strategies for the future.  While we found that the initial approach was successful we plan to improve the integration process and enhance systems engineering concepts. 

Bartus, G., & Fisher, F. T. (2015, June), Outcomes of a Systems Engineering Project for K-12 Teachers Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24550

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