June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.988.1 - 15.988.14
During the past six years, the Colleges of Engineering and Education at Tennessee Technological University have worked together in two Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grant programs focused on providing engineering professional development content and resources to middle and high school teachers. The first MSP program (EMSP1) was conducted from 2004 to 2007 for approximately fifty math and science teachers from more than a dozen rural school districts in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. Entering its final year, the second program (EMSP2) includes science, math, and technology teachers, with sixty intervention and sixty control teachers from eighteen, primarily rural, school districts across the state of Tennessee. This paper first presents the professional development model that served as the basis for program design and then summarizes the objectives, structure, results, and lessons learned from the two MSP programs.
The Professional Development Model
Professional development experiences for both MSP programs were based on research on how students and their teachers learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Some of the background information specific to engineering education was taken from research conducted by SEEK-16 (Strategies for Engineering Education K-16) participants developing a Pre-AP engineering program. Consideration was also given to research related to teaching and learning in rural and economically disadvantaged environments.
To provide equity of educational opportunity in rural schools serving economically disadvantaged students, one must move f 1 Challenging students with real-world problem-solving from the world of engineering addresses different learning styles and provides a context for the application of math and science theory that appeals to students of poverty.2
Teachers must be scientifically literate and have the necessary tools to engage their students in quests for understanding of engineering concepts.3,4,5 Teachers with more content knowledge are better questioners and discussion leaders and are able to identify conceptual patterns and apply those patterns in instruction.6,7 If teachers are going to incorporate inquiry and engineering- based content and activities in their teaching, they must themselves experience learning through inquiry, collaborate with other teachers, have access to and competence in using technology, and have experience with engineering.8,9
The interdisciplinary nature of engineering merges laboratory, field, and classroom inquiry with 10 historical and cultural perspectives and Effective classroom practices include conceptual understanding, thinking skills, inquiry, cooperative learning, graphic organizers, computer simulations, actual observation, clear objectives, and on- going feedback.11 Students develop deeper understanding when they generate and test hypotheses, compare and contrast, summarize, and apply prior knowledge.12
Operationally the professional development in both programs consisted of 60 hours of summer institute instruction by faculty in the College of Engineering and the College of Education and
Hunter, K., & Matson, J., & Phelps, M., & Loutzenheiser, R. (2010, June), Professional Development For Science, Technology, And Mathematics Teachers Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16922
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