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Stem Teams And The Great Orange Squeeze: A Unique Approach To Preparing Middle School Educators For The Massachusetts Engineering Framework Requirements

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

ChE Outreach and Recruitment

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1116.1 - 9.1116.12

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Paper Authors

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Tracy Carter

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Paula Leventman

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Katherine Ziemer

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STEM Teams and The Great Orange Squeeze: A Unique Approach to Preparing Middle School Educators for the Massachusetts Engineering Framework Requirements

Katherine S. Ziemer1, Tracy Carter1, Paula Leventman2 1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115/ 2College of Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115

Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to introduce engineering as part of the K-12 education frameworks. In the middle schools, the engineering framework is tested as part of the compulsory Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam. The engineering framework requirement provides an opportunity to introduce problem-based learning modules on engineering and technology, to motivate students to pursue math, science and engineering careers, and to increase technical literacy of students. Studies show that middle school is a critical intervention point for encouraging the study of math and science, especially for girls.1,2 The goal of the NSF-sponsored 4 Schools for WIE (Women in Engineering) project is to use the Massachusetts engineering framework requirement to infuse the curriculum with gender-neutral modules and activities that focus on engineering and technology.

4 Schools for WIE is a partnership of four engineering colleges in Massachusetts: Northeastern University, Boston University, Tufts University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Each partner school has a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Team composed of one engineering faculty member, two middle school teachers, one or more professional engineers, and one or more graduate or undergraduate engineering college students. 4 Schools for WIE uses these all-female (when possible) STEM Teams to help teachers develop engineering education modules, and to serve as in-class resources for teachers in the greater Boston area. Each STEM Team is responsible for developing and piloting a project-based module that meets the goals of 4 Schools for WIE and that can be disseminated throughout Massachusetts and the United States. More information about the NSF-sponsored 4 Schools for WIE endeavor can be found in a separate article (“Schools for Women in Engineering: Innovative Approaches to Increase Middle School Students Interest in STEM” by Reisberg, et al.) as part of these proceedings.

The Great Orange Squeeze is the module developed by the Northeastern University STEM Team, a joint effort between Northeastern University, Raytheon Corporation, the Josiah Quincy Middle School and the Grover Cleveland Middle School. While the module is designed to meet Massachusetts state requirements, the incorporation of engineering principles into 8th grade curricula and the discussion of engineering careers with middle school students can benefit school systems nationally by helping the students understand the value of math and science and encouraging more students to consider engineering as a career. It further benefits the engineering profession by generating interest in the field.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Carter, T., & Leventman, P., & Ziemer, K. (2004, June), Stem Teams And The Great Orange Squeeze: A Unique Approach To Preparing Middle School Educators For The Massachusetts Engineering Framework Requirements Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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