Asee peer logo

Using Laboratories To Teach Engineering Skills To Future Teachers

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1107.1 - 6.1107.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

William Jordan

author page

Debbie Silver

author page

Bill B. Elmore

Download Paper |

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

Session 2326

Using Laboratories to Teach Engineering Skills to Future Teachers

William Jordan, Debbie Silver, and Bill Elmore Louisiana Tech University


During the 1999-2000 academic year, the authors created and offered to elementary and middle school pre-service teachers a course on engineering problem solving. This course was designed to build the knowledge base and strengthen the confidence of future teachers when working with science, engineering, and mathematics principles using laboratory-based activities as the foundation for learning.

Using the theme “Our Material World”, the authors sought to integrate concepts and principles involving physical, mechanical and chemical behavior of materials as a means to teach engineering problem solving skills. Through the use of frequent laboratory exercises, our goal was to “demystify” for these future teachers some of the fundamental ideas of science and engineering and to heighten their interest and skill level in effectively communicating these ideas to K-12 students.

In the first offering of this course (Spring 2000), we initiated the process of “engineering problem solving” with laboratory-based activities by first forming teams to promote collegiality among the pre-service teachers and to provide a supportive framework for their entrance into potentially unfamiliar territory of problem solving from an engineering standpoint. Team formation was accompanied by a strong commitment to regular “teaming” activities providing ample opportunities for students to literally put their “hands to the task” of experimenting with the new concepts to be learned. Mixed with a lively interaction among the three faculty members (and the students themselves) this quickly broke down many barriers to students’ actively and cooperatively learning new concepts.

The course was taught in a cooperative learning environment, integrating numerous hands-on activities with brief lectures coordinated to provide “just-in-time” information for current team activities. By doing rather than merely observing, students engaged in “constructivist” instructional techniques.

1. Introduction

Our problem-solving course was created through sponsorship of the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics (NOVA) program. NOVA was created out of a concern for how universities prepare new teachers. Comprising a network of 76 member institutions, NOVA “Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Jordan, W., & Silver, D., & Elmore, B. B. (2001, June), Using Laboratories To Teach Engineering Skills To Future Teachers Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9967

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: © 2001 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