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Engineering in K–12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects
The goal of the project was to provide carefully reasoned guidance to key stakeholders regarding the creation and implementation of K–12 engineering curricula and instructional practices, focusing especially on the connections among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The project had these specific objectives:
Survey the landscape of current and past efforts to implement engineering-related K–12 instructional materials and curricula in the United States and other nations;
Review evidence related to the impact of these initiatives, to the extent such information is available;
Describe the ways in which K–12 engineering content has incorporated science, technology, and mathematics concepts, used these subjects as context to explore engineering concepts, or used engineering as a context to explore science, technology, and mathematics concepts; and
Report on the intended learning outcomes of K–12 engineering education initiatives, taking into account student age, curriculum focus (e.g., science vs. technology education), program orientation (e.g., general education vs. career/vocational education), and other factors.
In meeting the goal and objectives, the project focused on three key issues and three related guiding questions:
There are multiple perspectives about the purpose and place of engineering in the K–12 classroom. These points of view lead to emphases on very different outcomes. QUESTION: What are realistic and appropriate learning outcomes for engineering education in K–12?
There has not been a careful analysis of engineering education within a K–12 environment that looks at possible subject intersections. QUESTION: How might engineering education complement the learning objectives of other content areas, particularly science, technology, and mathematics, and how might these other content areas complement learning objectives in engineering education?
There has been little if any serious consideration of the systemic changes in the U.S. education system that might be required to enhance K–12 engineering education. QUESTION: What educa-