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Teachers Teaching Teachers: Linking K 12 Engineering Curricula With Teacher Professional Development

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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

ERM Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1154.1 - 9.1154.12



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Paper Authors

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Malinda Zarske

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Janet L. Yowell

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Jacquelyn F. Sullivan

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Lawrence E. Carlson

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

Session 3630

Teachers Teaching Teachers: Linking K-12 Engineering Curricula with Teacher Professional Development

Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Jacquelyn F. Sullivan, Lawrence E. Carlson, and Janet L. Yowell

College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado at Boulder


Teachers are accountable for progressively higher expectations of performance in their classrooms. With the addition of standards-based teaching and performance testing, today’s teachers feel the pressure of implementing quality lessons and curricular units in the classroom within strict time constraints. Not only is the number of qualified teachers in short supply, often they are expected to teach subjects outside their area of primary preparation. Teachers in science and technology classrooms, especially at the elementary and middle school levels, regularly report a lack of confidence in their ability to teach those subjects and seek content-specific professional development opportunities to enhance their classroom success.

Supported by National Science Foundation and Department of Education grants, the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder has worked with K-12 teachers for six years to integrate engineering into their science curricula by offering varied professional development models. Most recently, we explored a model that built upon former workshops and incorporated new ideas. The new workshop format combines the talents of university professors, engineering outreach staff and K-12 teachers, and uses already-developed engineering curricula to support two-day teacher workshops in which teachers teach peer teachers hands-on engineering curricula. Working with university faculty content experts, the teachers use their own pedagogical knowledge to aid their content learning and overcome apprehensions associated with the prospect of teaching engineering in their classrooms.

Comprehensive hands-on K-12 engineering curricular units, comprised of multiple stand-alone lessons, form the backbone of the teacher workshop offerings. Teachers benefit by having a tested set of standards-based curricula to take back into their classrooms, coupled with the confidence of having learned how to teach the content. The university K-12 Engineering Program benefits from observing the lesson plan presentations made by the teachers during the workshop and incorporating the teachers’ suggestions to improve the curriculum.

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

Zarske, M., & Yowell, J. L., & Sullivan, J. F., & Carlson, L. E. (2004, June), Teachers Teaching Teachers: Linking K 12 Engineering Curricula With Teacher Professional Development Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13304

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