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Timelines And Student Project Planning In Middle School Technology/Engineering Education Exercises

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

K-12 Outreach Initiatives

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Page Numbers

7.1208.1 - 7.1208.7



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Paper Authors

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Timothy Harrah

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Martha Cyr

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Brad George

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

Main Menu Session Number 2530

Timelines and Student Project Planning in Middle School Technology /Engineering Education Exercises

Timothy Harrah1, Bradford George2 and Martha Cyr1 1 Tufts University Center for Engineering Education Outreach Tufts University, Medford, MA 02460 / 2 Hale Middle School Nashoba Regional School District, Stow, MA 01775

Abstract In the practice of professional engineering design, nearly all work is ultimately completed in a team format and under a deadline. It is therefore relevant to reflect, on some level, the demands of these real world constraints in instructional problem solving activities as well. It is our belief and experience that the integration of these concepts may be made successfully as early as grades seven and eight.

While team based interactive learning has consistently been a focus of the Tufts University/Nashoba Regional School District NSF GK-12 program, over the past academic year, the concept of student directed project planning has also been implemented. This primarily involves the creation of a project specific Gantt chart, which is a common tool in industrial project management. This has similar benefit to students as to working professionals in that advanced planning allows for the broad survey of project scope and for the allocation of time and personnel resources to various tasks that are component to its efficient and timely completion.

As the planned tasks mirror the steps of the engineering design process, this exercise also becomes a pedagogical tool to review and reinforce this material. In addition, the usefulness of the graphical representation of information is also emphasized. It is our experience that students respond well to this exercise and in the periodic charting of actual progress against initial goals, experience the reinforcement of planning skills which are broadly applicable to many types of team based problems.

It is the objective of this paper to discuss in detail the motivations, instructional methods and impacts of implementing engineering timelines into middle school technology/engineering design exercises.

Introduction to the Classroom The Tufts University/Nashoba Regional School District NSF GK-12 program supports the inclusion of Engineering content into the curriculum of schools within that district at the 4th through 12th grade levels. Graduate student fellows with undergraduate degrees in engineering and computer science are typically placed within a classroom in order to develop activities that support the analysis of problems from an engineering perspective. The subject classroom for this paper is a Technology/Engineering program at Hale

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Harrah, T., & Cyr, M., & George, B. (2002, June), Timelines And Student Project Planning In Middle School Technology/Engineering Education Exercises Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10320

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