June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.1285.1 - 8.1285.5
Watershed Analysis and Teacher Education Resource (WATER) Project
Dr. Bruce W. Berdanier T.J. Smull College of Engineering, Ohio Northern University
It has been suggested that engineers could focus on professionalism by pursuing activities that directly enhance the engineering profession such as working with organizations and universities to promote K-12 education in science, engineering, math and technology 2. Science and mathematics classes in the K-12 arena are considered gateways to the engineering profession 1 and can provide the context that students need to make the application of fundamental math and science relationships to solving real-world engineering problems. Programs are needed in the K- 12 experience that deliver hands-on, project-based curricula providing the opportunity for K-12 students to experience the wonders and opportunities of education and careers in engineering and technology 1.
K-12 teachers typically have not majored in the science field of the courses they teach. Also, in the United States students are less likely than students in other countries to be taught science by teachers with a major area of study in science 3. Generally, across all countries, only 20% of students are taught science by teachers who believe that they are well prepared. The US teachers generally report higher levels of confidence than other countries, but only 27% of students in the US were taught by teachers with a high level of confidence in their preparation 3.
The universities participating in this research are located in the northwestern part of Ohio in counties that are characterized by small towns and predominantly agricultural areas. Many of the students in these small K-12 systems do not have the opportunity to consistently be taught by teachers that have been able to specialize in math and science. Hence, we need to reach out to these rural school systems to increase the students’ awareness of their opportunities to move into technical and science careers.
Watersheds are ready-made natural science and math laboratories. Within the confines of a watershed study we can explore and mathematically quantify the fundamental physical relationships of size, shape, length, area, slope, water velocity, and flow. We can demonstrate the calculus concept of area integration and combine it with velocity measurements to determine flow rates. There are abundant opportunities to demonstrate data collection, precision, accuracy, and statistics. We can measure and monitor chemical and biological reactions and natural populations. We can demonstrate mass balance concepts and teach the difference between concentrations and mass loadings. The watershed provides the interface between water, earth and the atmosphere, and we can measure and quantify many of the equilibrium relationships that affect our world at these interfaces. All of these concepts can be presented in the context of environmental sustainability and with evaluation of socio-economic impacts of our environmental regulations.
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Berdanier, B. (2003, June), Watershed Analysis And Teacher Education Resource (Water) Project Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/11740
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