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Exploring the Effectiveness of an Interdisciplinary Water Resources Engineering Module in an Eighth Grade Science Course

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Abstract:

Engineering education has historically been given little attention in the USK-12 classrooms even though engineering incorporates scientific and mathematical concepts into meaningful, everyday applications. Including engineering and design projects in K-12 science and mathematics classes may improve student interest and comprehension, while also reaching a broader range of students than traditional lecture-based classes. For this study, the authors implemented an engineering design project focusing on water resources in 8th grade science classes. Students were exposed to either an engineering project (treatment) or a more traditional format (control) and their knowledge of water resource issues was evaluated using a pre-post assessment tool. Overall, students in the treatment classes showed statistically significant improvement in two areas—they displayed higher levels of thinking on open-ended questions and greater content knowledge. This research indicates the effectiveness of engineering in enhancing student learning and supports its inclusion in the middle school science curriculum.

Keywords: K-12 ENGINEERING EDUCATION; MIDDLE SCHOOL EDUCATION; PROJECT-BASED LEARNING; WATER RESOURCES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • This journal serves as an international interdisciplinary forum of reference for engineering education.
    A balance between papers on developments in educational methods technology, case studies, laboratory applications, new theoretical approaches, educational policy and survey papers is aimed for.
    Comprehensive coverage of new education schemes and techniques makes the journal a unique source of ideas for engineering educators who are keen to keep abreast of latest developments in educational applications in all fields of engineering.
    Some of the areas covered more extensively in recent issues are: CAD, CAE, computer applications in teaching thermodynamics, material science, electrical engineering, new courses and curricula, engineering management, control engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering design, student evaluation and institutional accreditation.

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