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The Recipe for a Gourmet Snack: NGSS, NAE, and STEAM (Fundamental)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Addressing the NGSS: Supporting K12 Teachers in Engineering Pedagogy, Engineering Science, Careers, and Technical Pathways

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Michael E. Edley Drexel University

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Michael E. Edley is a PhD candidate at Drexel University in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department. He is a NSF GK-12 Fellow who works with the Drexel University College of Engineering GK-12 program in collaboration with School District of Philadelphia teachers in order to develop engineering-based modules for use in the high school curriculum.

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Stephanie Owens Science Leadership Academy

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Stephanie is a secondary science teacher and 5 year collaborator with Drexel University. As a collaborator in a teacher-fellow pair through National Science Foundation's GK12 program, Stephanie challenged students to find solutions to the NAE Grand Challenges. Secondary students have built vertical gardens, designed water filters, and most recently engineered food snacks using molecular gastronomy techniques. Resources to the project can be found at:

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Jessica S. Ward Drexel University

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Jessica Ward serves as the Director of Operations for the DragonsTeach program. She previously worked in the College of Engineering at Drexel University for more than 8 years with a focus on recruitment, grant facilitation and STEM program management. During her tenure in the College of Engineering, Jessica successfully coordinated with multiple faculty members in the submission of approximately 600 grant proposals, including co-writing, editing and serving as the Program Manager for 5 awarded STEM education grants totaling more than $12M. She has collaborated with University offices and College faculty and professional staff in the facilitation of recruitment strategies to increase the quality and quantity of undergraduate and graduate enrollment, including supervising the planning and implementation of Open House and other recruitment events. Jessica now manages the day-to-day operations of the DragonsTeach program, including supporting the development of programs of study, student recruitment, fundraising and grant-writing, hiring and supervising staff and student workers as well as coordinating program evaluation.

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Adam K. Fontecchio Drexel University

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Dr. Adam Fontecchio is an Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Vice-Dean of the Graduate College, and Director of the Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE). He is the recipient of a NASA New Investigator Award, the Drexel Graduate Student Association Outstanding Mentor Award, the Drexel University ECE Outstanding Research Achievement Award and the International Liquid Crystal Society Multimedia Prize. In 2003, he received a NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship to research NEMS/MEMS adaptive optics in the Microdevices Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Fontecchio received his Ph.D. in Physics from Brown University in 2002. He has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications.

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At an urban high school in Philadelphia, a teacher-engineer team questioned if a project-based learning unit using Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and Understanding By Design (UBD) frameworks could be designed and executed to successfully teach students about macromolecules. Molecular gastronomy (MG) is a branch of food science that studies the physical and chemical transformations of food. MG provided a universally relatable framework, food, to teach chemistry and biology. Students were tasked with using the engineering design cycle to produce a molecular gastronomy snack during a school-wide Cook-Off. MG technique and macromolecule constraints required students to develop skills ranging from using a knife to thinking abstractly about chemical reactions and the form and function of macromolecules. The final products created during the Cook-Off were evaluated based on chemistry/biology knowledge, aesthetics, and nutritional value. The design process of the unit itself is highlighted in this work, including background pedagogy, detailed lessons explaining food science, and a website-linked unit plan. Results show that the unit strongly contributed to student learning and that students showed mastery of the objective NGSS and NAE Grand Challenges covered in this work.

Edley, M. E., & Owens, S., & Ward, J. S., & Fontecchio, A. K. (2016, June), The Recipe for a Gourmet Snack: NGSS, NAE, and STEAM (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27003

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