Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Engineering a New World

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Engineering a New World

Article excerpt

One of the striking features of the new science standards is the call for including engineering throughout the science curriculum, from kindergarten through 12th grade. "A significant difference in the Next Generation Science Standards is the integration of engineering and technology into the structure of science education ... by giving core ideas of engineering and technology the same status as those in other major science disciplines" (NGSS Lead States, 2013, Volume 2, Appendix A, p. 3).

There are good reasons for this increased emphasis on engineering and technology as core components of STEM education. By incorporating engineering design and technology, we allow students to apply their developing science understanding to solving problems that are practical, relevant, and important in their daily lives. Students develop important critical-thinking and problem-solving skills as they work through engineering design challenges. Such activities can help spark student interest and encourage students who belong to groups historically underrepresented in science and engineering fields.

Engineering has a rich history that goes back at least as far as the ancient metallurgists who transported humanity out of the Stone Age and such grand projects as the pyramids of Egypt and Mesoamerica, the Great Wall of China, and the aqueducts of ancient Rome. By the 19th century, the industrial revolution had brought forth advances in mechanical, civil, electrical, and chemical engineering that would change the world forever. …

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