Asee peer logo

The Effect of Teachers' Professional Development on Implementing Engineering in Elementary Schools (RTP)

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Elementary Engineering

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Teresa Porter Ohio State University


Meg E. West Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Meg E. West is a civil engineering graduate student at The Ohio State University. She is an graduate teaching associate for the Department of Engineering Education.

visit author page


Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching.

visit author page


Kathy Lea Malone Nazarbayev University

visit author page

Kathy L. Malone is a Associate Professor. Her research interests include the incorporation of model-based reasoning, and engineering design in K12 classrooms.

visit author page


Karen E. Irving Ohio State University

visit author page

Karen E. Irving is an Associate Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry at Bucknell University and Ph.D. in Science Education at the University of Virginia. Dr. Irving was co-principal investigator on the Connected Classrooms in Promoting Achievement in Mathematics and Science project supported by the Institute of Education Sciences and an NSF funded Track 2: GK-12, Optimization and Institutionalization of the Science Fellows Supporting Teachers (SFST) Program. She is former chair of the Chair of the Columbus Section of The American Chemical Society and is a member of NARST, ASTE, ACS and NSTA. Current projects include being principal investigator on the ENABLE STEM NSF Noyce grant and two ITQ funded Engineering is Elementary projects, as well as work on effective and appropriate use of modeling in middle and secondary school classrooms.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Increased attention on the implementation of engineering education into elementary school classrooms aims to start preparing students early for potential engineering careers. In order to efficiently and effectively add engineering concepts to the curriculum, appropriate development and facilitation of engineering design challenges is required. Therefore, professional development programs are necessary to educate teachers about engineering and how to adequately teach it. This paper explores the effects of an engineering professional development program for practicing teachers. The program included training elementary teachers about how to implement units from Engineering is Elementary (EiE) by the Science Museum of Boston into their classes. Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted, both prior to and following the implementation of the EiE units over an academic year. The interviews were transcribed and coded using open-coding, resulting in the development of a codebook. The codes were further analyzed until salient themes emerged that can be used to improve the training and better understand how teachers integrate engineering into their classrooms. The results show that many teachers need training to learn about engineering practices, as well as pedagogical guidance on how to incorporate engineering concepts into their lessons. However, not surprisingly, limited resources such as time, money, materials, and knowledge, restrict efficient curricula implementation. We believe these findings reemphasize the need for STEM professional-development programs to educate K-12 teachers about engineering and will be useful to others interested in integrating engineering into K-12 curricula.

Porter, T., & West, M. E., & Kajfez, R. L., & Malone, K. L., & Irving, K. E. (2018, June), The Effect of Teachers' Professional Development on Implementing Engineering in Elementary Schools (RTP) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31088

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015