Using Engineering Practices to Bridge the STEM Gap

Room: Red Level, Suite15

With the focus on engineering practices and principles in the state’s Science and Technology/Engineering Standards and in the Next Generation Science Standards, educators across the United States are preparing to teach more of the “E” in STEM. Luckily, engineering activities provide opportunities to integrate many other disciplines, including science, mathematics, language arts, and social studies. This session will focus on engineering as the unifying link between several disciplines.  Participants in this session will take the classic challenge of engineering a bridge and elevate it to an integrated, authentic STEM learning experience. After learning about a real-life engineering problem that requires a bridge as a solution, participants will work in teams to design a bridge that meets specific design criteria. Participants will then use this experience as a springboard for brainstorming questions about structures, forces, balance, and stability that, in turn, help them to learn science content as well as improve and redesign their bridges. From the questions generated, participants will develop an inquiry-based science activity appropriate for young learners. To conclude the session, we will connect participants’ experiences with the engineering practices and principles and introduce a planning template that participants can use to create this sort of integrated STEM activity in their own classrooms.

  • Chantal Balesdent, Ph.D.  -  Professional Development Provider, Engineering is Elementary, Museum of Science