June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1441.1 - 12.1441.10
The INSPIRES Curriculum: Stimulating Future Generations of Engineers and Scientists Abstract
The INSPIRES Curriculum (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science), funded by the National Science Foundation, is being developed in response to the critical national need to recruit more students into STEM-related fields. The curriculum seeks to accomplish this goal by exposing students to a combination of real-world examples, hands-on activities and inquiry-based learning activities that target the ITEA Standards for Technological Literacy as well as national standards in science and mathematics.
Two new modules are being added to the INSPIRES Curriculum in 2006-2007: Engineering in Flight: A Hot Air Balloon Case Study and Engineering Energy Solutions: A Renewable Energy System Case Study. Each introduces students to the engineering design and decision-making process, while also teaching basic engineering concepts. In these curriculum modules, the students progress through a series of hands-on activities and demonstrations, web-based tutorials, and computer simulations during which they learn the principles that govern the system under study. Next, the students are issued a challenge to design, build and evaluate their own systems by utilizing results obtained from computer simulations. At the end of the project, the students return to the computer module to discover about ‘real world’ applications related to the content they have learned. This part of the curriculum includes career information and video of practicing engineers highlighting their work.
In addition to the curriculum development effort, professional development and in-service training with the curriculum are being provided for teachers prior to module use in the classroom. During the 2006-2007 academic year, several Maryland high schools covering a broad range of demographics will be testing the curriculum and providing data to the study. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the two new curriculum modules and present results of student learning, interest and attitudes. Finally, we will discuss the results of the related professional development workshops.
The recent report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” written by a pre-eminent committee (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine) identified four recommendations that federal policy makers should take to bolster U.S. competitiveness in science and technology. At the top of their list was “to increase America’s talent pool by vastly improving K-12 mathematics and science education”1. In addition, the National Science Foundation predicts that between 1998 and 2008 employment opportunities for engineering will increase by twenty percent, yet the trend of declining enrollment in engineering disciplines is expected to create a shortage of engineers in the U.S. in the near future2. For the U.S. to remain technologically competitive in the 21st century, more students must be recruited to science and engineering. While percent of women and minorities in the workforce has grown steadily over the past several years, they still comprise only nine and four percent, respectively, of the engineering workforce3,4. The recruitment of more students into STEM-related careers,
Russ, G., & Rice, J., & Parker, C., & Raczek, J., & Jarrell, B., & Bayles, T., & Ross, J. (2007, June), The Inspires Curriculum: Engaging Future Engineers And Scientists Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2723
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