Asee peer logo

Preparing Pre-service Teachers to Make Connections Between Science and Engineering Concepts Through Teamwork with Engineering Students (RTP, Strand 1)

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

Research to Practice: STRAND 1 – Addressing the NGSS: Supporting K-12 Teachers in Engineering Pedagogy and Engineering Science Connections (Part 1)

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1248.1 - 26.1248.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jennifer Keshwani University of Nebraska, Lincoln

visit author page

Jenny Melander is an Assistant Professor of Biological Systems Engineering and Science Literacy Specialist in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also the coordinator for the National Center for Agricultural Literacy. She is active in promoting science and engineering education in both formal and informal settings through her research, extension, and outreach activities. Dr. Melander is actively engaged in several cross-disciplinary regional and national efforts related to STEM education and outreach. Most recently, she was part of a team that received NSF funding to engage youth in STEM through wearable technologies. She is also involved in organizing and promoting FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competitions.

visit author page


Krista Lynn Adams University of Nebraska, Lincoln

visit author page

Dr. Krista L. Adams is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She completed her PhD at Arizona State University and was a member of the first cohort of Sandra K. Abell Institute participants in 2009. Krista taught middle school physical science and is a National Board Certified Teacher now studying novice teachers’ decisions based on the design and implementation of their teaching practices.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Preparing pre-service teachers to make connections between science and engineering concepts through teamwork with engineering students (RTP, Strand 1)NGSS has called for the inclusion of engineering in K-12 classrooms. This has shifted theemphasis from a discipline-based focus to crosscutting concepts that connect many disciplines.These crosscutting concepts, such as systems and system models, promote a deeperunderstanding of science and engineering concepts. Traditional education programs often do notprepare teachers to build these connections between science and engineering concepts. Theobjective of this study was to determine if formal interactions with engineering students tofacilitate afterschool science clubs would provide a means for pre-service teachers to learn howto make these connections in their instructional practices.In this study, undergraduate elementary education and biological systems engineering studentsworked together to plan and facilitate afterschool science clubs. The clubs were implemented atlocal elementary schools that have been identified as low socio-economic status andacademically underperforming. Teams were instructed to work together to develop instructioncapitalizing on each other’s strengths. Specifically, the pre-service teachers brought theirknowledge of education standards (NGSS and Common Core) and expertise working withchildren. The engineering students were experts in engineering and science content andconnections. Reflection questions were posted throughout the semester on a shared Google+Community page to monitor the pre-service teacher’s experiences while planning andimplementing the afterschool clubs and overall communication among the teams. Finally, thedeveloped lessons and final personal student reflections were analyzed to determine the impactof the collaboration.The data suggests that the pre-service teachers gained an understanding of engineeringknowledge and skills by working with the engineering students. The combined strengthsimpacted the development and implementation of unique engineering and science activities thatneither would have developed on their own. In one team the students encouraged children to popbubbles with their fingers. They then connected this activity to how a virus acts on a cellmembrane. This example shows how the students were able to make connections betweenscientific concepts. The model was used to connect the properties of bubbles to cell membranesallowing for a deeper and more contextualized experience for the children. An unexpectedoutcome of the study related to the impact of teachers on student interest in science andengineering. In their weekly reflections, the vast majority of the engineering students relatedpositive memories of learning about science at school and the passion of certain teachers thatencouraged their pursuit of an engineering degree. In contrast, the majority of pre-serviceteachers recalled negative past experiences with learning science. From conversations with theengineers, the teachers discussed the importance of presenting science and engineering in apositive light.The results of this study show that formal interactions with engineering students better preparespre-service teachers by improving their ability to make connections between science andengineering concepts. The collaboration supports the development of unique ways to incorporatescience and engineering in their instructional practices. These results will lead to a betterunderstanding of how to prepare pre-service teachers to integrate crosscutting science andengineering concepts into their classrooms.

Keshwani, J., & Adams, K. L. (2015, June), Preparing Pre-service Teachers to Make Connections Between Science and Engineering Concepts Through Teamwork with Engineering Students (RTP, Strand 1) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24585

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