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Poster, Nasa Threads: A Hands On, Context Based Approach To A High School Stem Course

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Think Outside the Box! K-12 Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.959.1 - 15.959.12



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Paper Authors

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Heath Tims Louisiana Tech University

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Krystal Corbett Louisiana Tech University

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Galen Turner Louisiana Tech University

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David Hall Louisiana Tech University

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

Poster, NASA-Threads: a hands-on, context based approach to a high school STEM course


NASA-Threads is a hands-on, contextual approach to a high school STEM course. Teachers from three regional high schools and university faculty from STEM disciplines have developed a new, challenging, interdisciplinary junior/senior-level high school physics/pre-engineering curriculum.

NASA-Threads integrates fundamental science and mathematics courses taught with engineering applications and the appropriate use of technology into a physics/pre-engineering curriculum targeting the junior/senior year of high school. The threads of this curriculum include Fundamentals, Technology, Communication, and NASA Applications. The fundamentals, which are grouped into blocks of similar topics, provide the backbone of the educational experience. NASA applications are strategically introduced to provide timely, hands-on reinforcement of fundamentals, and the progressive development of technical knowledge and skills.

The rigorous curriculum is designed to guide students through a systems-level understanding of real-world applications of science and engineering. This project provides a hands-on, contextual approach to student learning, as well as teacher professional development. As part of the curriculum, data is being collected on student outcomes that quantify high school students’ academic self-efficacy, real world problem solving, critical thinking skills, achievement in mathematics and the sciences, motivational and goal orientation, and vocational or career interests in STEM fields. Additionally, teacher outcomes, including self-efficacy, are being measured. This poster/paper will present the curriculum developed through the collaborative partnership between K12 schools systems and university.


Numerous publications in recent years have expressed “Science and mathematics education has concern regarding preparedness of our students to pursue truly reached a critical juncture. It is engineering and science degrees (for example, Rising imperative that we find creative ways to 1 2 improve the delivery of the fundamental Above the Gathering Storm , The Engineer of 2020 , and 3 Educating the Engineer of 2020 ). Clearly, there is a well- math and science our children need in order to be competitive in the emerging defined need for increased enrollment in and graduation global environment.” – Wayne Williams from university science, technology, engineering, and Superintendent, WPSB mathematics programs. Moreover, there is a critical need for partnerships between universities and K12 schools to increase the mathematics and science abilities of high school graduates – preparing them for any career path, particularly in STEM disciplines.

Two high school based curricula currently being used to address these concerns are Project Lead the Way and the Infinity Project. Project Lead the Way ( has modules for introducing engineering topics to students in both middle and high school. However, high school

Tims, H., & Corbett, K., & Turner, G., & Hall, D. (2010, June), Poster, Nasa Threads: A Hands On, Context Based Approach To A High School Stem Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16730

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