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The Successful STEM Resource Library includes programs and projects featured at STEM Smart workshops, as well as briefs based on research and recommendations from the National Research Council reports, Successful K-12 STEM Education and Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education.

The NSF-sponsored Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center (BMES ERC) at the University of Southern California (USC) has developed an extensive K–12 outreach program. The Center’s various outreach initiatives have brought the excitement of scientific discovery to hundreds of elementary and secondary school students as well as to their teachers and extended family members. Leveraging the substantial resources and human capital of the BMES ERC, educational curricula that are...
With systematic structure, organized tools, proper resources, and hands-on real-world experiences, engineering-based learning (EBL) can be an effective teaching and learning model for high school STEM courses. EBL combines well-known tools from science and engineering to create a pedagogical process to enhance student-centered learning across multiple STEM disciplines. Unlike project-based learning (PBL), EBL is a systematic method for students and teachers to find an appropriate solution to a...
Design Squad is an NSF-funded digital hub for middle school children that includes (1) television episodes and short videos streamed on pbskids.org, (2) an online community of young engineers, and (3) hands-on engineering activities. Designed to increase children’s understanding of engineering, the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning television series follows two teams of teens as they design and build projects for real-world clients—from constructing cardboard furniture for IKEA to designing peanut...
The Institute for P–12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University carries out basic research, applied research, and evaluation on teacher professional development and student learning with engineering in formal and informal settings. Through a National Science Foundation Discovery Research K–12 (DR K–12) project, we have sought to investigate the impact of elementary engineering teacher professional development (TPD) on teachers’ and students’ knowledge, attitudes, and...
Engaging Youth through Engineering (EYE) is a partnership-driven K–12 economic development initiative underway in Mobile, Ala., that is spearheaded by a local nonprofit education entity in collaboration with a large urban school system, higher education, and area business and industry. Its purpose is to produce high school graduates eager and able to meet the growing demand for tech-savvy workers who are also innovative problem solvers. EYE uses engineering design challenges to bring practical...
Engineering design is not simply a useful tool for teaching science and mathematics content, but it is also a unique discipline in which science and mathematics are employed as tools for solving design challenges. With generous support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in partnership with national organizations including NASA, the UTeachEngineering program at the University of Texas, Austin, has undertaken to demonstrate how rigorous engineering content can be deployed in secondary...
The Next Generation Science Standards integrate engineering practices as a core method for learning science and as a 21st century skill set that all students must develop. Engineering is transforming our world, serving as the core of the innovation economy and touching all aspects of our lives. But the gap between where we need to go and classroom reality is particularly salient in high school biology, where memorization is king and engineering practices and outcomes are largely absent, even...
The Engineering is Elementary (EiE) project fosters engineering and technological literacy among elementary school students and educators. EiE has created a research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science topics. EiE lessons not only promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in grades 1–5, but also connect with literacy and social studies. To date, EiE has...
“Engineering is taught only sporadically in K-12 schools, despite growing evidence that engaging in engineering education leads to improved student learning and achievement in mathematics and science, in part by connecting these subjects to real-world problems.” Read this brief to learn more about the increasing efforts to integrate engineering into the K-12 curriculum.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) integration at the K–12 level is gaining national and international attention. Many U.S. national documents have laid the foundation for the connections between the disciplines. Engineering can be considered the integrator in STEM integration. However, a clear definition or tradition of what constitutes a quality engineering education at the K–12 level has not been established. At the college level, the Accreditation Board for Engineering...
There is a growing demand for engineering education in the pre-college classroom, particularly in ways that work with other aspects of curricula. Integrating Engineering and Literacy (IEL) projects use children’s texts as contexts for students’ initiation and early progress in practices of engineering. In particular, we focus on students’ (1) recognizing and scoping problems, with attention to the “client’s” situation, (2) conceptualizing and planning possible solutions, and (3) fabricating,...
The National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) are a group of interdisciplinary centers located at universities all across the United States, each in close partnership with industry. ERC innovations in research and education are expected to impact curricula at all levels, from pre-college to lifelong learning, and to be disseminated to and beyond their academic and industry partners. A vital part of ERC education programs are outreach efforts to bring...
Mathematics INstruction using Decision Science and Engineering Tools (MINDSET), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project (DRL-0733137), is a collaboration between educators, engineers and mathematicians at three universities to achieve the following goals: (1) Enhancement of students’ mathematical ability, especially their ability to formulate and solve multi-step problems and interpret results; (2) Improvement in students’ attitude toward mathematics; and (3) Adoption of the...
The engineering design approach for teaching science concepts has led to middle school student knowledge gains in core science concepts when compared with a scripted inquiry approach. By blending math and science disciplines, engineering design provides a strong mechanism to facilitate integrated instruction and connections among concepts and to the real world, building student understanding and appreciation for both content areas. While empirical research validates the use of engineering...
The inclusion of engineering into the Next Generation Science Standards leaves both science education and engineering educators with cause for both excitement and alarm. Science education watchers, for example, fear loss of science instruction time and obfuscation of the nature of science, while teachers may assume that “build a bridge Fridays” will provide sufficient science instruction for an entire week. Engineering counterparts fear that a focus on student competition to build structures...