Engineers of Tomorrow

Date
2017-04-11
Authors
Brinkman, Jilliane
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Altmetrics
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English
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English
Abstract

To address the critical issues of U.S. competitiveness and to better prepare the workforce, A Framework for K-12 Science Education calls for new approaches to K-12 science education that will attract students' interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in scientific fields (Quinn, n.d.). Responding to this call, we report on an intervention we co-designed and implemented to develop interest in industrial engineering topics, particularly optimization among elementary school students. Our design follows arguments made in the K-12 literature regarding the benefits of introducing engineering concepts at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Our inductive insights suggest that anchor charts serve well as visual models illustrating the steps involved in solving a problem. Further, kindergarten school students who receive instruction in the use of anchor charts may be able to transfer their use to successfully solve arithmetic problems. Reflecting on guided conversations with elementary school teachers who continued to use anchor charts, we find that problem-solving skills taught through optimization strategies can be an effective teaching tool. Early exposure to engineering methods may enhance students’ problem solving skills and potentially increase students’ foundational skills in the science, engineering, and technology fields

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