The Go-To Guide for Engineering Curricula, Grades 6–8: Choosing and Using the Best Instructional Materials for Your Students

Handbooks

Edited by: Cary I. Sneider

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    Foreword

    I have a dream. Nearly all of our youngsters will graduate high school, and nearly all will be excellent readers, manipulate numbers and estimate easily, be able to argue a point using trustworthy evidence to back it up, make decisions informed by common knowledge, solve complex problems well, understand how scientists and engineers reason and be able to do some of that reasoning themselves, express themselves articulately, work well with others, recognize what they know and when they need to learn more, have passionate opinions backed by knowledge, and appreciate the roles they might take on (and love to engage in) as productive adults.

    By middle school, students will begin to have some idea of the kinds of employment in which they might want to engage as adults, and as a result of the experiences they are having in school and at home, they will evolve their interests over time and develop mature passions as they move through high school and beyond, imagining what they might be or be doing as adults, working toward aligning themselves with some of these possibilities, deciding they are interested in some and not interested in others, and eventually identifying how they will live their lives and achieve their goals. Some will be scientists or engineers, some will be writers or expressive artists, some will provide services, some will be technicians, but all will be gainfully employed doing something they want to be doing.

    Plenty of research on how people learn suggests that engaging learners in achieving engineering challenges that they are personally interested in and capable of solving successfully (with help) can go a long way toward fulfilling my dream, which I hope you share. You can play an essential role in your students’ lives by engaging them in design challenges that are relevant to their personal interests and helping them to extract lessons from their work about how to define and solve problems and to imagine themselves as grownups who can solve important problems in the real world. A tall order, for sure, but not an impossible one. It won't happen tomorrow, and it won't happen at all if we don't seriously take on the challenge.

    There are many reasons to be optimistic about the role design challenges can play in helping our youngsters grow and learn. First, it is not hard to make engineering design challenges fun, and it is not hard to help students see the value of math and science in their everyday lives if they are using disciplinary knowledge to address challenges they recognize as important. Achieving complex design challenges will not be easy fun for students, but if they are interested enough, they will put in the hard work. And if they see the value in what they are doing and learning and experience the success of learning and using science, more might enjoy science; more might see themselves as people who can engage well in thinking scientifically; more might understand the role science plays in our everyday world; more might become scientists, engineers, technicians, or policymakers who use science; and more might engage, during their adult lives, in thinking scientifically at times when that is appropriate.

    Second, we know that developing deep understanding and masterful capabilities is hard and requires considerable time, but we also know that when people are really interested in what they are learning or in what they are attempting to do, and if the expectations are not so far beyond their capabilities that activities are overly frustrating, then they are willing to put in the time and effort. Learning something well, whether we are gaining understanding or learning how to do something, requires time and patience; it requires that we try our best to understand or achieve a challenge, that we pay attention to results and judge what is successful and not as successful, that we work on explaining when we don't understand something well or when we are not as successful as we want at solving a problem, that we develop new ideas and understandings, and that we have chances to try again (and fail again, and so on).

    Achieving engineering design challenges provides opportunities for doing all of these things—trying and not quite getting it right, observing what happens, explaining, developing new understandings, and trying again. When a science class is achieving engineering challenges together, the teacher and class can work as a unit to provide the help everyone in the class needs to engage successfully in all of these processes. Not every student in the class will learn everything in depth or become masterfully adept at all skills and practices, but engaging together as a class in achieving engineering design challenges makes the classroom a place to help all students achieve as well as they can.

    Third, engineering design challenges provide opportunities to use science, engage in carrying out disciplinary practices, engage in engineering design practices, and engage in 21st-century skills. When students get excited about achieving a challenge, they will want to develop the necessary skills well enough to be able to achieve the challenge; if they need each other's advice, they will want to learn how to give good advice and take advice well; and if they are working on a challenge that requires several kinds of expertise or perspective, they will want to learn to collaborate well. When a class engages in engineering design together, there are opportunities to reflect on and discuss how to carry out skills and practices well, and when students are eager to achieve the engineering design goal, they will also be eager to know how to do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal; they will take the time to reflect on what they are doing and work on refining the way they carry out processes if time is set aside for that and appropriate help is given.

    Fourth, we know that learners become more engaged and interested and willing to work hard when they are able to take on agency, that is, when they are trusted to make choices. There are rarely optimal choices in achieving engineering goals; engineers are constantly involved in making trade-offs, and several engineers working on the same real-world problem might come up with very different designs. The context of achieving engineering design challenges is perfect for allowing learners agency. When different groups suggest different solutions, have a chance to present and justify their solutions for the class, and have a chance to argue with each other using evidence, learning opportunities are enhanced for everybody in the class, as each group gets to experience and think about not only its own ideas but also the ideas of others.

    Finally, when learners are allowed to try on the shoes of scientists and engineers, they also can begin to imagine themselves in those shoes. Students who are helped to be successful student scientists and student engineers, as they are asked to do in achieving engineering design challenges, will also begin to develop understandings of the kinds of activities they enjoy and the kinds of work they might want to do later in life. If the set of challenges they attempt is large, encompassing a large variety of disciplines, life situations, and roles they might take on, they will have solid foundations on which to build in imagining their futures.

    Everything we know about how people learn and how to promote learning suggests that engaging our young people in achieving engineering challenges and solving engineering problems has potential to promote deep science learning and mastery of important disciplinary and life skills. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), in encouraging curriculum approaches that foster learning STEM skills and practices along with science content, give school systems and teachers permission to move in that direction.

    * * *

    This book documents 14 sets of curriculum materials that integrate engineering design as a part of science. Although these materials were developed before publication of the NGSS, the authors of these chapters explain ways that they can be used today to support the NGSS at the middle school level. And nearly all will be fine tuned in the years to come as developers gain further experience with the NGSS.

    Each of the chapters illustrates different ways that engineering design can help achieve my dream, starting with Chapter 1, Design Squad, about hands-on activities by the creators of a television series that “aims to inspire its young viewers—to show that engineering is accessible, doable, and most of all, fun.” Reruns of the series showing students solving engineering design challenges are available on the web, along with hands-on activities related to each of the episodes.

    Chapter 2, Models in Technology and Science, engages students in a number of complex design challenges in which they build and refine windmills and water wheels, structures made of drinking straws, and tops and yo-yos made from plastic plates and rubber stoppers. Developing these working models takes time and considerable effort, so success is deeply satisfying. Like several of the curriculum materials in this book, Models in Technology and Science is appropriate for school or after school and for summer learning experiences.

    In Chapter 3, Everyday Engineering, students can see that science and engineering are all around them, as they reverse-engineer everyday objects to see how they function. With topics such as “What Makes a BicTM Click?” and “Times Up, Turkey: Pop-up Thermometers” students discover the science behind everyday items and imagine how they might be improved with a thoughtful redesign.

    The SLIDER curriculum, described in Chapter 4, enables students to step into the shoes of scientists and engineers as they build and modify high-tech LEGO® robotic vehicles and then use their vehicles to solve important real-world challenges, such as investigating a dangerous intersection to figure out how to avert future accidents.

    It's not only students that need support. Teachers also need encouragement and ideas, which are abundant in Chapter 5, Teaching Engineering Made Easy. The two books discussed in the chapter include activities that do not require a formal science lab and can be done with inexpensive materials that are easy to find.

    The connections between forces and kinetic energy are brought into sharp focus in Chapter 6, Fender Bender Physics, in which students design and race model cars powered by mousetraps and carbon dioxide cartridges. The goal is not just to design cars that go fast, but to figure out how to design them so that they avoid rollovers and protect their “passengers” in case of accidents.

    We know from research that learning is greatly enhanced when learners are encouraged to think beyond what might be obvious solutions, present and justify their solutions to their fellow students, and have a chance to argue with each other about the best possible solution. The purposes of such discussions are for students to learn to use evidence to critically evaluate their own ideas and listen critically and respectfully to the ideas of others. That is the kind of experience described in Chapter 7, Technology in Practice: Applications and Innovations, in which students design and debate alternative solutions to such real environmental problems as garbage dumps, oil spills, and air pollution.

    Engineering in Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology (IQWST), described in Chapter 8, engages students in design challenges inspired by driving questions that help them discover the scientific principles that underlie everyday technologies. For example, students design and build Rube Goldberg–like devices to explore the question “Why do some things stop and others keep going?” In another module, students make soap and improve the recipe as they consider the question “How can I make new stuff from old stuff?”

    Chapter 9, Project-Based Inquiry Science (my own contribution to this book), describes a full three-year middle school science curriculum that engages students in both scientific investigations and engineering design challenges. In their roles as student engineers and scientists, learners move through the full cycles of reasoning in which engineers and scientists engage when they address pressing real-world challenges. Some challenges are local (e.g., improving the quality of the air in their own community), whereas others are more global (e.g., designing a new variety of rice that will grow under new climate conditions), and others are just fun (e.g., designing and building a small vehicle that can navigate a terrain). All are designed to appeal to the interests and passions of middle schoolers, and all engage learners in iterative cycles of asking questions, investigating, explaining, arguing, collaborating, reflecting, and more.

    In Chapter 10, Engineering Design in SEPUP's Middle School Issue-Oriented Science Program, students learn science to help them design solutions to environmental issues. For example, they study the structure of the Earth in order to gain the knowledge they need to identify potential sites for the safe storage of radioactive waste over tens of thousands of years. In another unit, they investigate properties of rocks and minerals and consider the relative value of mined versus manufactured diamonds.

    Chapter 11, Techbridge: Engaging Girls in STEM in Out-of-School Time, is aimed at expanding the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM. Instructional guides and materials kits help Girl Scout volunteers and community leaders engage in design projects to make the world a better place. For example, in after-school clubs and summer camps, middle school-age youth design toys made from recycled waste materials.

    In Chapter 12, Waterbotics®, students design and build robots that travel underwater. Building a successful robot is a very challenging task, but students are guided in developing their robots one step at a time so that they achieve success as they develop technological skills and learn how their robot functions.

    Engineering Now, presented in Chapter 13, is a series of enrichment guides that introduces students to a wide variety of engineering careers. Each module focuses on a different kind of engineering, from mechanical and electrical engineers to transportation, agricultural, and pharmaceutical engineers. Students engage in activities that provide insight into the kinds of problems that these different sorts of engineers solve in the real world.

    Engineering by Design, featured in Chapter 14, is part of a sequence of activities, kits, and courses for children starting in prekindergarten through Grade 12. In the three-course middle school sequence, students learn about the history of technology; the complex technological systems on which modern civilization depends; and how technology, innovation, design, and engineering are interrelated and interdependent. Students are challenged to improve technological systems in ways that not only solve a problem they have identified, but also are acceptable to society.

    * * *

    It will not be easy to make traditional classrooms into engineering design classrooms. Some students who are used to reading and answering questions will balk at having to work hard; other students for whom learning comes easy will balk at having to work collaboratively with their classmates. If you are new to engineering education, you will have to learn new ways of interacting with students and facilitating learning. It does not take long to draw students in if challenges are meaningful to them and if they are trusted with agency, but it will take a special effort to develop new ways of interacting with your students.

    If this is your first time teaching engineering, you may not be as successful as you want immediately, but don't worry. As you learn to be a better facilitator of the engineering design process, your students will learn more deeply. If possible, work together with other teachers who are also learning to implement engineering or other project-based activities in their classrooms. And just as your students will be learning a new approach by attempting to solve a problem but not quite succeeding, getting help in understanding why their first approach didn't work, then redesigning and trying again, it is very likely that you will go through a similar sequence of stages in your teaching. It will take time and willingness to work through possibly frustrating attempts to enact very different kinds of activities than you are used to, but it will be worthy and worthwhile work.

    * * *

    The many chapters in this collection provide advice and resources for using design challenges and problems to promote science learning. I hope that the chapters help readers develop imagination about integrating engineering design and problem-solving experiences into science classes, passion for moving forward to implement engineering design activities in their classrooms, and understanding of the conditions under which integrating such activities into our classrooms will lead to deep learning.

    Choosing which of these instructional materials are right for you and your students is, of course, a huge part of the challenge. But it should be possible to identify likely candidates by reading the first three or four pages of each chapter, then reading the complete chapter for those that are most likely to meet your needs. As you do that, you might keep in mind several thoughts:

    • Good education is not about “covering the material.” Developing deep understanding and masterful capabilities is hard and requires considerable time. It is more important that students spend significant time on a few projects than that they do a lot of brief activities that cover a wide variety of topics.
    • In order to sustain your students’ interests over time, it is essential for projects to be sufficiently interesting and diverse to maintain your students’ attention. Resources will provide some advice about how to do that, but you know your students better than curriculum developers; use your judgment to help problems come alive for your students, and if you see interest waning, figure out how to bring interest back. It's not hard to keep youngsters excited about things that impact their world and that help them experience worlds they've become familiar with from TV or the movies, but sometimes they need to be reminded why they are doing what they are doing.
    • Judging the difficulty of a task will require your best judgment as a teacher. The requirements of a task should not be so difficult that it becomes frustrating and students give up. Conversely, if what they are asked to do is too easy, students will not have opportunities to develop new skills or gain confidence in their abilities to tackle and solve really challenging problems. Some materials allow you to modify the level of the challenge to meet your students’ needs.
    • Opportunities for teamwork are evident in every one of these sets of materials. However, some are more explicit than others about how to manage teams and help students learn to work together effectively. What is important to remember is that working in teams should not be seen just as a way of managing the classroom, but rather, it is important for students to come to appreciate the benefits of collaboration and learn how to collaborate well. Help your students identify the understanding and capabilities they are gaining from teamwork and help them develop collaboration habits that they use and further develop across curriculum units and projects.
    • Many of the materials described in this book expose students to the world of technology and a wide variety of career possibilities. Helping students recognize those possibilities provides a way of keeping them engaged and will aim students toward goals that are part of my dream (and I hope yours).
    • In choosing materials to use in your classroom, remember that in addition to choosing particular curriculum units for the targeted content they address and the interests of your students, it is important that your students experience and appreciate the big ideas of science and technology. Curriculum materials used over a year or several years of school should build on each other in ways that allow learners to see the connections between topical areas and to exercise and develop their capabilities. Help your students see across curriculum units as well as digging deep into the content and skills targeted in each one.

    I offer my best wishes and congratulations on all of your efforts! I will be cheering for all of you and looking forward to meeting your many learned and mature-thinking students and experiencing the success of your endeavors in the decades to come.

    — Janet L. KolodnerNovember 2, 2013
    Reference
    NGSS Lead States. (2013) Next Generation Science Standards: For states, by states. Volume 1: The standards and Volume 2: Appendices. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

    Janet L. Kolodner is Regents’ Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, where she served as coordinator of the cognitive science program for many years. Dr. Kolodner was founding director of Georgia Tech's EduTech Institute, whose mission is to use what we know about cognition to inform the design of educational technology and learning environments. Dr. Kolodner is founding Editor in Chief of The Journal of the Learning Sciences, an interdisciplinary journal that focuses on learning and education. She is also a founder of the International Society for the Learning Sciences, and she served as its first Executive Officer. Her research has addressed issues in learning, memory, and problem solving, both in computers and in people. Dr. Kolodner's book, Case-Based Reasoning, synthesizes work across the field. Dr. Kolodner has focused most of her research on using the model of case-based reasoning to design science curricula for middle school, in which students learn science and scientific reasoning in the context of designing working artifacts. More recently, she and her students are applying what they've learned about design-based learning to informal education—after-school programs, museum programs, and museum exhibits. The goal of these projects is to identify ways of helping children and youth consider who they are as thinkers and to come to value informed decision making and informed production and consumption of evidence.

    Acknowledgments

    Cary Sneider

    First and foremost, I wish to thank the authors of these chapters, not only for taking the time to craft a compelling description of their curricula, but also for the foresight and persistence that it took to develop instructional materials in engineering, long before there were standards to support their efforts.

    Recalling my early education that technology and engineering are allied with science, but are also different in important ways, I want to acknowledge my early mentors—Robert Maybury, Harold Foecke, and Alan Friedman—as well as the leaders of the National Center for Technological Literacy at the Museum of Science in Boston, including especially Ioannis Miaoulis, Yvone Spicer, Peter Wong, and Christine Cunningham, and the many teachers and administrators in Massachusetts who were among the early adopters of what we now call Integrated STEM education.

    I also appreciate the support of colleagues at Achieve, Inc., including the writers of the Next Generation Science Standards; Stephen Pruitt, who led the effort; the brilliant and supportive staff; and the members of the NGSS Lead State Teams, for their steadfast dedication to crafting standards that fully embrace engineering as an equal partner to science. The current leadership of Achieve, Inc. is commended for granting permission for us to quote extensively from the NGSS.

    Thanks also to the extraordinary personnel at the National Research Council, including the committee members and staff who developed A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and members of the Board on Science Education, especially Helen Quinn, Linda Katehi, Heidi Schweingruber, Tom Keller, Martin Storksdiek, and Michael Feder, who played crucial roles in the development of new science education standards.

    Senior staff of the National Academies Press have also contributed to this work and to science education more broadly by making available free of charge the Framework and Next Generation Science Standards, along with many other important science education reports. The Press has given its permission to quote freely from the Framework and has asked us to publicize the availability of both the free downloads and hardcopy versions of the Framework and NGSS at its website: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165.

    Worthy of special thanks is the generosity of Jan Morrison, President and CEO of Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), whose major gift provided substantial support for this effort, and to the leadership of Corwin, who also provided financial support above and beyond the costs of publishing.

    I also want to acknowledge Robin Najar, Julie Nemer, Amy Schroller, and Liann Lech, my editors at Corwin; editorial assistant, Ariel Price; and the many other people at Corwin who made this set of volumes possible, as well as David Vernot, a consultant at the Butler County Educational Service Center in Hamilton, OH, who volunteered to be an additional critical reader.

    Although it is somewhat unusual for an editor to thank his readers, I also want to acknowledge your courage for being among the first to help bring the new world of STEM learning into being.

    —Cary SneiderAugust 1, 2014
    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin wishes to acknowledge the following peer reviewers for their editorial insight and guidance.

    Joan Baltezore, Science Instructor

    West Fargo High School

    West Fargo, ND

    Arthur H. Camins, Director

    Stevens Institute of Technology/CIESE

    Charles V. Schaefer School of Engineering

    Hoboken, NJ

    Kelly Cannon, K–12 Science Program Coordinator

    Washoe County School District

    Reno, NV

    Mandy Frantti, Physics/Astronomy/Mathematics Teacher

    NASA Astrophysics Educator Ambassador

    Munising Middle-High School

    Munising, MI

    Loukea Kovanis-Wilson, Chemistry Instructor

    Clarkston Community Schools

    Clarkston, MI

    Sara Stewart, Educational Technology Specialist

    Washoe County School District

    Reno, NV

    About the Editor

    Cary I. Sneider is Associate Research Professor in the Center for Science Education at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches research methodology to teachers in a master's degree program. In recent years, he served the National Research Council as design lead for technology and engineering to help develop A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, which has provided the blueprint for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). He then played a similar role on the writing team to produce the NGSS, which was released in April 2013. The recognition that teachers would need access to instructional materials to help them meet the new standards led Cary to develop the current volume, The Go-To Guide for Engineering Curricula.Cary was not always interested in engineering—or at least he didn't know that he was. For as long as he can remember, he was interested in astronomy. He read all he could find about it, and when he was in middle school, his father bought him a small telescope. In high school, Cary built his own telescopes, grinding mirrors and designing and building mountings. All this time, he thought he was doing . Today, he recognizes that like many scientists, he especially enjoyed the part of the work.During his junior year at college, Cary had an opportunity to teach at an Upward Bound program and found that he enjoyed teaching even more than research in astronomy. In subsequent years, he taught science in Maine; Costa Rica; Coalinga, California; and the Federated States of Micronesia. He returned to college, this time to obtain a teaching credential and eventually a PhD degree in science education from the University of California at Berkeley. He spent nearly 30 years in Berkeley, developing instructional materials and running teacher institutes at the Lawrence Hall of Science. He spent another decade as Vice President at the Museum of Science in Boston, where he developed a high school curriculum called Engineering the Future, and finally moved to Portland, Oregon, to be closer to children and grandchildren.Over his career, Cary directed more than 20 federal, state, and foundation grant projects, mostly involving curriculum development and teacher education. His research and development interests have focused on helping students and museum visitors unravel their misconceptions in science, finding new ways to link science centers and schools to promote student inquiry, and integrating engineering and technology education into the K–12 curriculum. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Informal Science Education award from NSTA and in 2003 was named National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences for his service on several National Research Council committees.

    About the Contributors

    Celeste Baine is the Director of the Engineering Education Service Center and the award-winning author of more than 20 books on engineering careers and education. She won the Norm Augustine Award from the National Academy of Engineering and the Engineering Dean Council's Award for the Promotion of Engineering Education and Careers from ASEE, and she is listed on the National Engineers Week website as one of 50 engineers you should meet. She has also been named one of the Nifty-Fifty individuals who have made a major impact on the field of engineering by the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

    Roy Q. Beven is a Distinguished Alumnus of the School of Physical Sciences at UC Irvine. For more than 20 years, Roy taught physics, mathematics, and technology education in secondary schools. Roy received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching for California. In addition to Fender Bender Physics, Roy has been on writing teams for many instructional materials, including Move With Science and Seismic Sleuths. Starting in 2001, Roy led the development of the science assessment system for Washington State based on scenarios about investigations, systems, and engineering design. Roy is working on assessment while maintaining his professional service with the Washington Science Teachers Association (WSTA).

    Brooke N. Bourdélat-Parks PhD, is a science educator at BSCS. In this role, she works on both curriculum development and professional development projects. As a curriculum developer, she has worked on projects for elementary, middle, and high school students in science and technology, including Technology in Practice: Applications and Innovations, BSCS Middle School Science, and BSCS Biology: A Human Approach. Brooke has conducted professional development on inquiry, specific curricula, leadership, practices of science and STEM, and curriculum development in a variety of schools and districts. She is the Academy Director for BSCS's STEM leadership academy. Brooke holds a PhD in biology/molecular genetics.

    Barry N. Burke DTE, is the Director of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association's (ITEEA, formerly ITEA) STEM Center for Teaching and Learning. His work includes the development of standards-based professional development, curriculum, assessment, and research related to the Standards for Technological Literacy. Currently, he coordinates a consortium of 20 states that collaborate on the development and implementation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment through the Engineering byDesign™ (EbD™) K–12 standards-based model program. He was the founder of the EbD™ program in 2005. Prior to ITEEA, he was a curriculum director, supervisor, resource teacher, and teacher for the Montgomery County Public Schools (MD).

    Arthur Camins is Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology. He was Executive Director of the Gheens Institute for Innovation in the Jefferson County public schools in Louisville, Kentucky. As Elementary Math and Science Director for the Hudson Public Schools in Massachusetts, he was Principal Investigator of two successful NSF projects, Formative Assessment in Science Through Technology and Critical MASS. In New York City, he was Associate Director of the New York City Urban Systemic Initiative and Principal Investigator for Science in the Seamless Day in CSD 16 in Bedford Stuyvesant.

    Ruta Demery received her degree in science from the University of Toronto (U of T) and her degree in education from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at U of T. She has been involved in education as a middle school and high school teacher, a teacher's college associate, and a curriculum developer and writer of numerous middle school and high school science and mathematics programs. Recently, she has been the product development editor and contributing writer for many of It's About Time's middle school and high school science programs, including Project-Based Science Inquiry (PBIS) and the PBIS CyberPD website.

    Susan Everett is Associate Professor of Science Education and Chair of the Department of Education in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. Dr. Everett is the co-author of the featured column “Everyday Engineering” in the National Science Teachers Association middle-level journal, Science Scope. A compilation of the articles has been published by NSTA Press, Everyday Engineering: Putting the E in STEM Teaching and Learning. Dr. Everett regularly teaches science methods courses, graduate-level research courses, and inquiry-based earth science classes.

    David Fortus develops learning environments that foster transferable learning. He investigates the factors that influence the motivation to engage with science both in and out of schools. He has received awards from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and from the American Psychological Association for his research on Design-Based Science. His publications range from science education to theoretical physics to legal economics. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Before becoming a researcher, he was a high school physics teacher and a project director in the aerospace industry.

    Linda Kekelis is Executive Director of Techbridge. She has a master's degree in linguistics from the University of Southern California and a doctorate in special education from the University of California, Berkeley. With more than 20 years of experience leading girls’ programs, Dr. Kekelis participates in advisory boards, collaborates with girl-serving organizations, and works with professional groups and corporate partners to promote females’ participation in science, technology, and engineering. She conducts research, participates in national conferences, and writes, translating research into practical applications for educators, professionals, and parents.

    Janet L. Kolodner's research addresses learning, memory, and problem solving in computers and people. She pioneered the computer method called case-based reasoning and uses its cognitive model to design formal and informal science curricula. Learning by Design, her design-based, inquiry-oriented approach to science learning, is a foundation of Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS), a 3-year middle school science curriculum. In her informal science education endeavors, middle schoolers learn science through cooking and learn to explain while designing hovercraft. She is founding Editor in Chief of Journal of the Learning Sciences and a founder of the International Society for the Learning Sciences.

    Joseph Krajcik is Director of the CREATE for STEM Institute and a faculty member in science education at Michigan State University. His research has focused on working with science teachers to reform science teaching practices to promote students’ engagement in and learning of science. He served as lead writer for developing Physical Science Standards for the NGSS and the lead writer for the Physical Science Design team for A Framework for K–12 Science Education. He served as president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, from which he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award.

    Mercedes McKay is Deputy Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology. She has led several national and statewide K–12 teacher professional development and curriculum development programs in STEM education. Ms. McKay is Project Director and co-Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation-sponsored Build IT Scale Up project to develop and disseminate an innovative underwater robotics curriculum for middle and high school students. She is a former practicing engineer and has taught high school science and mathematics.

    Emily McLeod is the Director of Curriculum at Techbridge. She works with program coordinators, teachers, and youth to develop science, technology, and engineering activities that are engaging and fun. Prior to joining Techbridge, she worked for more than ten years as a curriculum developer at Education Development Center.

    Richard Moyer is Emeritus Professor of Science Education and Natural Sciences at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. He coauthors a column for NSTA's Science Scope called “Everyday Engineering” that focuses on engineering and science concepts related to common items like ballpoint pens and popup turkey timers. NSTA Press has published a compilation of these columns as a book. Dr. Moyer is also the author of many publications and books, including a college text on inquiry, Teaching Science as Investigations: Modeling Inquiry Through Learning Cycle Lessons, and is one of the senior authors of McGraw-Hill's elementary textbook series Science: A Closer Look.

    Barbara Nagle directs SEPUP at the University of California, Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. She has developed many secondary science curricula and professional development programs. She has a PhD in cell biology from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining SEPUP, she taught high school science in Oakland, CA.

    Mike Ryan is on the research faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). Mike is a graduate of the Universities of Michigan and Kansas, with expertise in the design and use of project-based learning (PBL) to facilitate standards-based learning. Mike is the Co-Principal Investigator for the NSF-funded project Science Learning Integrating Design, Engineering and Robotics (SLIDER), overseeing curriculum design, teacher learning, and research strategy. The project investigates the integration of engineering in science classes to facilitate physics learning. Mike designs and facilitates online learning courses in PBL for educators, and he previously taught K–12 science.

    Jason Sayres is a Senior Curriculum and Professional Development Specialist at the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. For the past several years, he has been working on the NSF-funded WaterBotics® project, which aims to help educators put together an underwater robotics program for middle and high school students that uses LEGO® kits and pieces as the building materials. Previously, he was a physics instructor at an advanced math and science high school. He is a strong believer in hands-on and project-based learning, especially when it comes to STEM education.

    Marion Usselman is a Principal Research Scientist and Associate Director for Federal Outreach and Research at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). She earned her PhD in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and has been with CEISMC since 1996 developing and managing university–K–12 educational partnership programs. She currently leads a team of educators and educational researchers that is exploring how to integrate science, mathematics, and engineering within authentic school contexts and researching the nature of the resultant student learning.

    Pamela Van Scotter is Acting Executive Director at BSCS, providing leadership across the organization. She previously served as Senior Associate Director and as Director of the Center for Curriculum Development, where she worked on curriculum development and professional development projects for 16 years. Pam was a curriculum developer for many projects, Grades K–12, including BSCS Biology: A Human Approach and BSCS Science and Technology. She has worked extensively with elementary, middle school, and high school science teachers in many professional development settings. Pam received an MA in anthropology with an emphasis in linguistics and physical anthropology from Washington State University.

    Marisa Wolsky is Executive Producer at WGBH Educational Foundation for the NSF-funded series Design Squad, for which she oversees all aspects of the production, translating its engineering content across many platforms; Peep and the Big Wide World, responsible for managing its production and the implementation of its educationally rich preschool science curriculum; and Plum Landing, a multiplatform, environmental science project designed to help kids think green in a new way. She has worked on the development and production of many educational children's television series, including Long Ago & Far Away, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, Arthur, and ZOOM.

    Peter Y. Wong is Director of University Relations at the Museum of Science, Boston, and supervises the Middle School Engineering Curriculum Development. Dr. Wong graduated with a BS, MS, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University (Medford, MA). His work supports STEM education in and out of classrooms.

    Barbara Zahm received her PhD in anthropology in 1980. After teaching at City University of New York, Dr. Zahm became a full-time documentary film and video producer/director for public television and educational distribution, where she received multiple awards. Dr. Zahm is currently the Director of Product Development and Grants for It's About Time (IAT) and is responsible for all development, editing, and production of IAT products. In addition, she serves as Principal Investigator on the NSF-funded PBIS CyberPD project. She has also served as the PI on the Active Chemistry and Active Physics Revision curricula development projects.

    Bernard Zubrowski is a developer of curriculum programs: Models in Technology and Science, Design-it, Explore-it, and Ponds and Trees. He is involved in various teacher education projects and has designed exhibits for the Boston Children's Museum such as Bubbles and Raceways. Zubrowski authored Exploration and Meaning Making in the Learning of Science which was published by Springer.


    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website