Using Engineering Design Curriculum to Close Science Achievement Gaps for Middle School Students

Abstract

The Teachers Integrating Engineering into Science (TIES) Program is a collaborative project among faculty from the College of Education and the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. The TIES project paired university faculty with middle school science teachers to create three units that included engineering design using a variety of interactive learning activities in order to engage a wide range of students. The units included a Web-based simulation activity, lesson plans, a design project, and three types of assessments that were standardized across schools. Results of assessments were disaggregated by gender, ethnicity, special education, and socio-economic level. Mean scores for these student population groups were compared to mean scores for the same groups on the 2004 Nevada 8th grade science criterion referenced test. These results indicate that engaging students in engineering curriculum activities may diminish achievement gaps in science for some student populations

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