In recent years there has been increasing interest in engineering education at the K-12 level, which has resulted in states adopting engineering standards as a part of their academic science standards. From a national perspective, the basis for research into engineering education at the K-12 level is the belief that it is of benefit to student learning, including to "improve student learning and achievement in science and mathematics; increase awareness of engineering and the work of engineers; boost youth interest in pursuing engineering as a career; and increase the technological literacy of all students" (National Research Council, 2009a, p. 1). The above has led to a need to understand how teachers are currently implementing engineering education in their classrooms. High school physics teachers have a history of implementing engineering design projects in their classrooms, thus providing an appropriate setting to look for evidence of quality engineering education at the high school level. Understanding the characteristics of quality engineering integration can inform curricular and professional development efforts for teachers asked to implement engineering in their classrooms. Thus, the question that guided this study is: How, and to what extent, do physics teachers represent quality engineering in a physics unit focused on engineering? A case study research design was implemented for this project. Three high school physics teachers were participants in this study focused on the integration of engineering education into the physics classroom. The data collected included observations, interviews, and classroom documents that were analyzed using the Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education (Moore, Glancy et al., 2013). The results provided information about the areas of the K-12 engineering framework addressed during these engineering design projects, and detailed the quality of these lesson components. The results indicate that all of the design projects contained components of the indicators central to engineering education, although with varied degrees of success. In addition, each design project contained aspects important to the development of students' understanding of engineering and that promote important professional skills used by engineers. The implications of this work are discussed at the teacher, school, professional development, and policy levels.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2013. Major:Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Gillian H. Roehrig and Tamara J. Moore. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 348 pages, appendices A-E.
Kersten, Jennifer Anna.
Integration of Engineering education by high school teachers to meet standards in the physics classroom.
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