Science Educators Teaching Engineering Design: An Examination across Science Professional Development Sites

Michael E. Grubbs, Tyler S. Love, David E. Long, Danielle Kittrell


Although the currently employed STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) acronym is of recent origin, dating to the early 2000s (Chute, 2009), the United States has long emphasized the importance of teaching STEM in its public schools. Early efforts, such as Science, the Endless Frontier (Bush, 1945) and the Grinter Report (Grinter, 1955) highlighted benefits of developing K-12 student interest in science and engineering, sought successful strategies for exposing students to such fields, and advocated better preparation for teachers to deliver engineering content and practices (Harris, DeLoatch, Grogan, Peden, & Whinnery, 1994). The National Defense of Education Act buttressed attention to STEM by recommending improvement in mathematics and science in response to Sputnik (Rudolph, 2002). Moreover, publications such as A Nation at Risk (NCEE, 1983) specifically asserted the United States’ (U.S.) educational institutions and their pedagogical practices as a reason for the country’s rapidly slipping dominance as a global economic leader. In turn, educational reform evoked publication of standards documents (AAAS, 1989, 1993; NRC, 1996) addressing student interest and proficiency in STEM while providing the framework for science, mathematics, and technology to be taught in unison (Wells, 2008). Integrative approaches, such as technological and engineering design, were explicitly promoted by documents such as the Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEA/ITEEA, 2000/2002/2007). Collectively, these efforts have been instrumental to current Integrative STEM Education (I-STEM ED) (Wells & Ernst, 2012/2015) and preparation of students capable of succeeding in a competitive global economy (Sanders, 2009). However, as school disciplines adopt engineering design as an approach to develop student interest in STEM education and teach multiple subject areas, attention to use of such approaches needs to be better understood.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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