K-12 Programs Engineering Curricula
“The curriculum [developed by the Museum of Science] is a great tool to get children involved in science and engineering at their own level and in a way they are excited and enjoy learning.” - Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr., director of the National Science Foundation
Before the Museum could develop useful curricular materials, we wanted to discover what materials already existed. Our staff collected over 625 engineering/technology curricular resources from around the world and hired groups of teachers to help review the materials. The result: an online resource used by between 1,200 and 1,500 educators each month and the development of standard pilot curricula, which meet all the educational standards established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, two of which are:
Engineering is Elementary®
The Engineering is Elementary project integrates engineering and technology with science, language arts, social studies, and mathematics via storybooks and hands-on design activities. Elementary school teachers nationwide can use these curricular materials to teach technology and engineering concepts to children in grades 1-5. Each unit begins with an illustrated storybook in which a child from a different country uses the engineering design process to solve a problem. As of October 2010, EiE had reached over 21,600 teachers and 1.7 million students nationwide; about 800 educators in MA are trained in EiE.
- View Map to See EiE's Current Reach
- EiE Website
- Research on and evaluation of EiE
- Watch EiE Video
- NCTL News: "New York Times Highlights NCTL Curriculum, Sales Double"
A September 2009 report by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Research Council (NRC), Engineering in K 12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects, cites EiE as one of the curricula offering the "most comprehensive" resources to support implementation. Materials "are clearly written to enrich and complement existing instruction…the emphasis on literacy is especially noteworthy." The EiE series "iillustrates how a wide range of problems can be overcome through a systematic engineering design process that involves the application of math, science, and creativity…the idea that engineers combine creativity with their knowledge of math and science to solve problems is introduced and reinforced."
Created with Tufts University, Building Math provides innovative practices for integrating engineering with math to help middle school students develop algebraic thinking. It has been pilot-tested in Massachusetts and has reached at least 2,000 teachers and almost 95,000 students nationwide. Building Math was awarded 2008 Distinguished Curriculum Award as a math curriculum package by the Association of Educational Publishers. According to the 2009 NAE and NRC report Engineering in K 12 Education, the units are "very deliberative in their use of contextual learning to make the study of math more interesting, practical, and engaging." What the math students are asked to do has a "direct bearing on the solution to the problem." The materials are also "very consistent" in using the engineering design process to "orchestrate learning" — the "richest" portion of the design process involves doing research and testing the final design and the "richest" analysis in the materials involves interpreting data and discovering "quantitative patterns and relationships."
Availability: three-book series for grades 6 - 8 and teacher's guides are available from Walch Publishing, 40 Walch Drive, Portland, Maine 04103.
Middle School Curriculum
The NCTL is also creating a middle school curriculum that will meet both national and Massachusetts state technology and engineering standards. It will focus on 10 areas including construction, transportation, communications, energy, aerospace, and bioengineering.
Engineering the Future®
Engineering the Future: Science, Technology, and the Design Process (EtF) is a full-year high school course intended to show students how they will influence technological developments as workers, consumers, and citizens. The standards-based curriculum engages high school students in hands-on design and building challenges reflecting real engineering problems and encourages them to explore what engineering and technology are and how they influence our society. According to the 2009 NAE and NRC report Engineering in K 12 Education, one of the most prominent features of this curriculum is the "emphasis placed on people and story telling." All the laboratory activities "are broken down into very small pieces that build upon one another in a very incremental manner." The "culminating design problems provide students a lot of latitude to be creative and to operationalize the problem in a way that capitalizes on their interests." EtF has reached educators and high school students across the nation. Since 2007, professional development has been delivered to over 500 teachers.
The September 2009 report by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Research Council (NRC), Engineering in K 12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects, includes an extensive analysis of existing K-12 engineering curricula.
Read the Report
The Growth and Reach of EiE
As of April 2009, Engineering is Elementary has reached over 900,000 students across the country. Above is a regional breakdown (numbers are approximate).