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Engineering concepts in the high school classroom: the Dartmouth/Thayer problem-solving methods

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2 Author(s)
Muller, C.B. ; Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, NH, USA ; Collier, J.P.

In the early 1960s, the introductory course in engineering offered at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering was re-designed to focus on the introduction and implementation of problem-solving strategies used by engineers in practice. In 1990, having determined that this course would find great interest among K-12 educational practitioners, we encapsulated it into a program for high school science and math teachers. “Engineering Concepts for the High School Classroom” includes an intensive summer workshop, post-workshop consultation and communication with Thayer School staff and other past participants, and materials development. The program offers teachers a framework wherein their students develop problem-solving skills requiring critical thinking, communication and teamwork. Within this framework, students are given the opportunity to define their own problems and develop original solutions to those problems. They make testable predictions and analyze test results, encounter the real world in the search for answers, take into account ideas from a variety of disciplines, and communicate their findings both in a traditional written format and orally to a review board composed of professionals in the field. As students develop new skills and learn to trust their own judgment, they also accomplish highly technical tasks, giving them solid expertise in their field of inquiry. This paper describes the program and its method provides examples of high school classroom results, and discusses its dissemination beyond Dartmouth through workshops composed and run by past participants in this program

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1995. Proceedings., 1995  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

1-4 Nov 1995