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Work in progress — engineering case studies inspired by society's Grand Challenges for Engineering: An integrated approach to middle school stem instruction

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9 Author(s)
Wendt, A. ; Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA ; Mayeshiba, T. ; DeMerit, J. ; Aneskavich, L.
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The National Academy of Engineering “Grand Challenges for Engineering” (GCE) initiative has inspired the introduction of humanitarian applications of engineering into middle school science and math classrooms. Two GCE case study instructional modules have been developed by an interdisciplinary research team and piloted at six participating middle schools during the 2011-12 school year. Each module employs realistic fictional scenarios to engage a broad spectrum of students through role-play as engineers. Students develop engineering skills by tackling specific problems inspired by societal needs. Relevant science and math content, based on state and national middle school standards, are embedded within the modules. Integration of engineering with science and math instruction is aligned with recommendations in the Framework for National K-12 Science Standards, recently published by the National Research Council. The pilot modules, “Improving Aging Infrastructure” and “Solar Energy,” were introduced to teachers at participating schools at a professional development workshop during Summer 2011. The success of this approach as a strategy to increase interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields among all students, especially women and under-represented groups, is being evaluated through measurement of participating students' attitudes toward math, science and STEM-related occupations.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2012

Date of Conference:

3-6 Oct. 2012