Asee peer logo

Outcomes of a Systems Engineering Project for K-12 Teachers

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Systems Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1213.1 - 26.1213.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Greg Bartus Stevens Institute of Technology

visit author page

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.

visit author page


Frank T. Fisher Stevens Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Frank T. Fisher is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-Director of the Nanotechnology Graduate Program ( 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.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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

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: © 2015 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