June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
13.1193.1 - 13.1193.9
TechSTEP: Connecting High School Teachers and Students to Integrated Engineering and Science Abstract
TechSTEP is an NSF-funded program developed by the mathematics, science and engineering faculty of our College. The primary goal is to motivate students to consider mathematics, science, and engineering majors in college. Faculty members from the College of Engineering and Science have teamed up with area high school teachers to develop engaging projects aimed at high school juniors and seniors. These projects utilize techniques that have proven successful in our Integrated Engineering and Science Curricula, including team building, collaborative learning, and hands-on activities. Close collaboration between college faculty and high school teachers maximizes the benefit to students by having both their regular teachers and university faculty directly involved in their projects. This team approach involving both high school and university teachers and the integration of topics sets our project apart from the more traditional high school weekend science camps. TechSTEP also serves as a model for the students by effectively demonstrating how diverse teams can often provide better solutions to problems. Moreover, the relationships that are built between the high school and university faculty will have a long-term impact on all students influenced by these high school teachers.
TechSTEP consists of three distinct projects which are delivered on a three-year cycle. These projects are each centered on a common theme which connects high school level math and science to engineering. Each year’s theme showcases a topic that encompasses engineering concepts, as well as team skills, creative problem solving, and career exploration. These themes serve as good applications of algebra and trigonometry, are very hands-on and intuitive, give an excellent introduction to engineering design, and easily lead to a design competition. The projects pique student interest and show the importance and relevance of both mathematics and science.
Introduction and Background
According to the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2004, enrollment in undergraduate engineering and science programs decreased sharply during the 1980s, followed by slower declines in the 1990s.1 Since 2000, enrollment numbers have begun to increase again; but the report also indicates that, of those students who do enroll in engineering and science programs, fewer than 50% earn an engineering or science degree within six years. Clearly, there is a continued need for increased enrollment and retention in science and engineering. In The Science and Engineering Workforce: Realizing America’s Potential, the Board strongly recommends national-level action to provide an adequate number of science and engineering graduates to ensure competitiveness in the ever changing global economy (NSB 2003). 2
Louisiana Tech University’s STEM Talent Expansion Program (LaTechSTEP), funded by the National Science Foundation, has two major components that will yield increased numbers of graduates in STEM disciplines. One component focuses on recruitment of new students, while the second component increases retention of enrolled students. The Recruiting Component, hereafter referred to as TechSTEP, described in this paper stimulates interest in STEM topics at
Crittenden, K., & Nelson, J., & Turner, G., & Boudreaux, A. (2008, June), Techstep: Connecting High School Teachers And Students To Integrated Engineering And Science Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3323
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