Written by: Dr. Cary Sneider and Mihir Ravel
Engineering the Future: Science, Technology and the Design Process is a full-year high school curriculum recently added to Activate Learning’s portfolio, and has the twin benefits of being fully aligned with new standards while still making engineering design relevant to all students. Developed by the National Center for Technological Literacy (Museum of Science, Boston), Engineering the Future (EtF) was designed for schools in Massachusetts, the first state to include engineering as a full partner to the natural sciences in its education system. Now that engineering is woven into the fabric of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), it is a leading candidate for adoption in more than 35 states that base their standards on the NGSS, or on A Framework for K-12 Science Education, that provided the blueprint for the NGSS.
The curriculum is composed of four major Projects focused on engaging a wide range of students with themes relevant to their daily life. Students analyze needs and design solutions for themes such sustainable housing, transportation, communications, and entertainment. Student labs and design activities are guided by four Engineering Notebooks that are mapped to each project. The projects are supported by a Teacher Guide which follows the instructional approach of the well-established “5E’s” model. A complementary Student Reader provides thirty engaging chapters written by a range of engineers and technical professionals that provide close career links to the students’ daily activities.
A significant revision for 2018 expands on the “Maker” theme of the curriculum by introducing digital technologies to complement the rich set of physical hands-on design activities. The first Project, Jump Into Engineering, provides an easy ramp into the engineering design process and modeling with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools. The other projects can be presented in any order. Sustainable design is an essential feature of all four projects, as is the integration of the engineering concepts with supporting science concepts. For example, sustainability is a highlight of the Project Design a Green Building, but so is the science of materials and structures. Motion and energy are a key focus of Patent Your Vehicle Design, and electricity and magnetism are featured in Design with Light and Sound. Teachers and schools find this integration of engineering with science to be one of EtF’s high points.
In addition to joining Activate’s family of curricula, we are pleased to announce that Engineering the Future 2.0 has recently been recertified by STEM Works, a searchable online honor roll of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs. STEM Works was created to help companies, states, and individuals make smart investments in their communities by evaluating and cataloging programs that meet rigorous and results-driven design principles. The following paragraphs provided the introduction to our STEM Works application:
Since Engineering the Future (EtF) was published in 2007, there have been significant developments in the field of science education, most notably the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which incorporates engineering at the same level as the traditional disciplines of life science, physical science, and Earth and space science. In parallel, the availability of affordable digital technologies has catalyzed the “maker movement” to create a revolution in informal technical learning by hobbyists and non-engineers. These two developments have had an important influence on our second revision of EtF.
Programs that are certified by STEM Works, including EtF, can be found at the following Web address: https://stemworks.wested.org/all-stemworks-programs.
Activate Learning welcomes the authors of EtF 2.0:Back to all posts