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Stepping Into The Classroom: An Alternative Capstone Experience

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

K-12 Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1136.1 - 10.1136.20



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Paper Authors

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Nathan Dees

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Megan Perkey

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Karen Davis

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Nicholas Harth

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

Session 1510

STEPing into the Classroom: An Alternative Capstone Experience Karen C. Davis, Megan L. Perkey, Nicholas B. Harth, Nathan Dees Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 45221-0030

This paper describes the experiences of three Electrical Engineering seniors who chose an alternative to a traditional capstone design project; they applied their undergraduate engineering education in high school math and science classrooms as NSF STEP Fellows. Project STEP: Science and Technology Enhancement Program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills in K-12 education. Two of the primary goals of STEP are (1) to train future scientists, engineers, or STEM educators to bring their technical backgrounds into the classroom to enable secondary education students to relate STEM knowledge to the world they live in, and (2) to design, develop, implement, and assess hands-on activities and inquiry-based projects that promote authentic learning. The STEP Fellows provide the high school students with direct experience of the relevancy of their education to life, society, and the world, in addition to enhancing math and science curriculum with familiar, real-life engineering and technology examples.

This paper describes how the project meets ABET’s capstone design criterion as well as the objectives of NSF Project STEP. Lessons designed by the seniors and their reflections on their experiences are detailed.

1. Overview of NSF Project STEP

Project STEP is a National Science Foundation multi-year project at the University of Cincinnati that supports engineering and education university students as classroom assistants in inner-city high schools. The goals of Project STEP (Science and Technology Enhancement Program) are to educate, nurture, and facilitate science and technology university students into bringing their experiences and knowledge into the classroom and becoming educators. It recognizes that effective student education requires authentic and inquiry-based learning. Students must be able to link the relevance of their education with the events and issues occurring in their community. In addition, students must be able to experience how their education allows them to participate as effective citizens in a technology-driven society. Project STEP will prepare future science and mathematics educators who are capable of authentic teaching.

STEP has three primary goals. The first is to produce scientists, engineers, and secondary science and mathematics educators who are experienced in developing and implementing authentic educational practices into secondary science and mathematics Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Dees, N., & Perkey, M., & Davis, K., & Harth, N. (2005, June), Stepping Into The Classroom: An Alternative Capstone Experience Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15609

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