New Tool: Learning STEM Through Design: Students Benefit from Expanding What Counts as "Engineering"

Posted on October 28, 2014

The new vision for K-12 science education in the NRC Framework and the resulting Next Generation Science Standards call for engaging all young people in meaningful forms of learning experiences involving engineering design, technology and applications of science across the K-12 grade span. This is one of the significant new goals of this new vision, and it will require significant new efforts to create new instructional tools and learning experiences.

As we have worked with teachers on different NGSS implementation projects, we have realized it is important to realize that many students bring significant experience and expertise with engineering design. Sometimes youth have been involved with complex design efforts in their community, and sometimes they have participated in design-related hobbies for years. We wrote this new STEM Teaching Tool to highlight how productive it is to leverage this design experience of learners and to focus classroom engineering tasks on design projects that they find to be compelling -- like those that might benefit their communities.