Teaching by Design: Preparing K-12 Teachers to Use Design Across the Curriculum

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Conference Proceeding

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Engineering design holds great potential as a STEM instructional approach. By capitalizing on the design process teachers can enhance student engagement, motivation, application of knowledge, and self assessment; elements essential for deep learning in STEM. Yet, many K-12 educators are not familiar with the structure, elements, and process of engineering design. Their unfamiliarity indicates a need to address K-12 teacher knowledge of engineering design to prepare them to use the process for instruction. We answered this call by making engineering design a theme and focus of a residential four-day summer institute for K-12 teachers. Through a combination of presentations, hands-on activities and examples of profession engineering applications, we provided 250 K-12 educators with foundational knowledge of the design process. Our pre to post-institute measures revealed significant increases in their knowledge of design and increases in their ability to communicate the similarities and/or differences between scientific inquiry and engineering design. Implications and directions for further research are discussed.

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