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What Can Teachers Learn From Engineering Experts? Using A Three Phase Model To Improve K 12 Teacher's Knowledge Of Engineering And Technology

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teachers

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1363.1 - 15.1363.12

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Paper Authors


Elsa Head Tufts University

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Elsa Head is a Master's student in the Math, Science, Technology, and Engineering Education program at Tufts University. She holds a B.S. in Engineering Science and Environmental Studies from Tufts University. Elsa participated in the Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) as an undergraduate at Tufts and currently works at Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach as a co-manager for STOMP.

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Adam Carberry Tufts University

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Adam R. Carberry is a Doctoral Candidate in Engineering Education in the Tufts University Math, Science, Technology, and Engineering Education program. He holds an M.S. in Chemistry from Tufts University and a B.S. in Material Science Engineering from Alfred University. He is currently working at the Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach as a research assistant and co-manager of the Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP).

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What can teachers learn from engineering experts? Using a three- phase model to improve K-12 teacher's knowledge of engineering and technology

Abstract A convenient way to improve K-12 teachers’ understanding of engineering and technology is to use experts in these areas as resources. The Tufts University Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) model forms collaborations between undergraduate or graduate students and classroom teachers to take advantage of each party’s expertise. These undergraduate and graduate students, or STOMP fellows, study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects at the university level and can be considered experts in these subject areas because of their constant exposure to, and knowledge of these topics. As experts, they share their knowledge with teachers to help teachers build an understanding of, and comfort level with engineering and technology. The end goal of this partnership is to provide a teacher with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to implement an engineering and technology curriculum in their classroom. In this paper we examine teachers’ reactions on their participation in STOMP. We specifically look at teacher perceptions of STOMP, experience and comfort level in teaching STEM content, and their shear interest in the STOMP program. We also examine a need and rationale behind a three-phase model in which STOMP has a sustainable impact on a teacher’s ability to implement STEM curricula. Results of this study show that STOMP has raised teachers’ confidence in teaching and knowledge of engineering and technology content. These results support the use of a three-phase model to create a sustainable program that empowers teachers to gain independence in teaching in these previously unfamiliar content areas. Introduction The Tufts University Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) is an outreach program designed to assist K-12 teachers in integrating engineering and technology across all disciplines.1 The program was founded in 2001 as a response to the incorporation of engineering and technology into the Massachusetts’ Science & Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework.2 The additions to the framework placed new responsibilities on teachers who had little previous engineering and technology experience. K-12 teachers are not necessarily expected to become experts in each field they teach, but are expected to be proficient enough to use the knowledge that they teach. In expertise literature it is thought that 100 hours of learning and practice is necessary to reach proficiency.3 A teacher involved in STOMP, over a 5-year period, will reach this 100-hour milestone. STOMP helps equip teachers to teach these unfamiliar content areas by providing them with STEM “experts” in the form of university students, or STOMP fellows. University students, while not yet professionals in their fields, can be considered to have reached the level of skill acquisition needed for use in a K-12 classroom setting.4 Over time, a STOMP fellow-teacher

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