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Providing Meaningful Hands-on Experiences in Engineering Modeling the Process with 8-12 Educators

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.823.1 - 6.823.6

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Paper Authors

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Janet Sharp

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Rebecca Sidler Kellogg

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Barbara M. Adams

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Loren Zachary

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During the second year of the National Science Foundation sponsored TechKnow project at Iowa State University, the Engineering Mechanics for Teachers course has been modified to meet the needs of in-service teaching professionals at sites across the state of Iowa. During the first year, the course was directed toward traditional undergraduate students in elementary education. As a result of analysis of this effort, the instructors determined that a group of practicing classroom teachers would better appreciate and adapt the engineering content for 8-12 classrooms. The new version of the course is integrated with a Curriculum and Instruction course, entitled Pedagogical Applications of Engineering Concepts in the K-12 Classroom. Each course carries one-credit. Students in the education college can use both courses for graduate credit. The combined courses will emphasize the engineering mechanics of stiffness and deformation, stress and strain, equilibrium, buckling, bending, and material properties. A design thread is used. The information is put together in a tight package that leads to the design of pinned trusses (bridges) that culminates in the use of the West Point Bridge Designer software (available at or from the TechKnow web site under resources for teachers’ section The in-service teaching professionals explore the concepts and theories using discovery-learning techniques that are appropriate to the content instruction. This approach is used to provide an environment that is suitable for translation into the middle or high-school classroom. Thus, the in-service teachers learn the content in a way that is consistent with how they will eventually teach it. Most of the course is delivered to the in-service professionals at their work or home using streaming video, WebCT, and the Iowa Communications Network, a statewide fiber optic cable network. At the end of the course, students travel to Iowa State University for a workshop where lesson plans are demonstrated and assessed. The results of the workshop, including the lesson plans are disseminated to the participants. A selected sample is available on the TechKnow website for mass distribution. The results and feedback from the students are captured during a focus group evaluation discussion that will be held in conjunction with the end-of-semester workshop.

Sharp, J., & Sidler Kellogg, R., & Adams, B. M., & Zachary, L. (2001, June), Providing Meaningful Hands-on Experiences in Engineering Modeling the Process with 8-12 Educators Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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