1. Jennifer Eklund
  2. http://logancenter.systemsbiology.net/jen-eklund/
  3. Education Liaison
  5. Institute for Systems Biology
  1. Brian Fabien
  2. https://www.me.washington.edu/people/faculty/brian_fabien
  3. Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Professor
  5. University of Washington

K12 Engineering Scholars

NSF Awards: 1542228

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

Opportunities for STEM careers abound, but too few of our students are finding their way to these career pathways. The K12 Engineering Scholars program provides teachers with the knowledge and resources to inspire engineering ability, interest, and aspiration in their students. 

The program begins with a six- week summer experience, during which teacher participants:

  • Collaborate on a vision to use real-world engineering and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to enhance their current curriculum and enrich student outcomes;
  • Are immersed in cutting-edge engineering research;
  • Develop curriculum adaptations to engage and inspire their students;
  • Design makerspaces to support student learning on their home campuses; and
  • Create relationships with engineering and education colleagues across the region

Teachers and project leads share what they learned and how the experience is impacting their teaching. 

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Original Discussion from the 2017 STEM for All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Jennifer Eklund

    Jennifer Eklund

    Lead Presenter
    Education Liaison
    May 14, 2017 | 09:49 p.m.
    • Thank you for visiting the K12 Engineering Scholars video. Our project is just starting our second year and as we reflect on our first year we are thinking about the following:
    • When makerspaces meet NGSS, what resources best support teachers’ to translate their experience to instruction? classroom management? assessment?
    • Our program directly impacts a small number of teachers. What are some ways we can leverage the impact on the individual teacher to impact their whole system (colleagues, administrators, district leaders)?
    • We also welcome other comments, suggestions, ideas.
  • Icon for: Sue Doubler

    Sue Doubler

    May 15, 2017 | 09:20 p.m.

    Jennifer and Brian,

    I was struck by the comment by one teacher that she was surprised by "how much time they gave us." Could providing the same extended time in the classroom work?  Perhaps this is an example of less is more.

    Brian, is there an "lens" for understanding engineering that teachers develop in the program?

  • Icon for: Jennifer Eklund

    Jennifer Eklund

    Lead Presenter
    Education Liaison
    May 18, 2017 | 10:46 a.m.


    I think that the teachers who participated have worked to provide their students with more time to go through the complete engineering process this year. So often teacher professional development rushes teachers through as "adult learners" and they never get an opportunity to see and feel what more time looks like. I think giving them more time gave them the confidence to give their students more time.

  • Icon for: Deborah Hanuscin

    Deborah Hanuscin

    May 16, 2017 | 12:32 p.m.

    Hi, Jennifer and Brian-

    Given less than 2% of elementary teachers have coursework in engineering, your program is addressing an area of critical need! How does the experience help make the science and engineering practices in the NGSS more 'real' for teachers? How are they translating that into their classrooms 

  • Icon for: Jennifer Eklund

    Jennifer Eklund

    Lead Presenter
    Education Liaison
    May 18, 2017 | 10:50 a.m.

    I think it's more real because the teachers are engaging deeply and for extended periods of time with the practices in an authentic setting. They then have the experience to bridge to conversations with a variety of engineers. One thing not mentioned in the video is the weekly field trips the teachers went on during their 6 week experience. They found it super important for understanding how broad engineering is and how it connects to science.

  • Icon for: Sue Doubler

    Sue Doubler

    May 18, 2017 | 05:54 p.m.


    Could you say more about the weekly field trips? It sounds like your goal was to help teachers see engineering as practiced in real world situations. 

  • Icon for: Jennifer Eklund

    Jennifer Eklund

    Lead Presenter
    Education Liaison
    May 18, 2017 | 06:06 p.m.

    As our program is 6 weeks, we have the time to visit several different engineering groups. Last summer we visited a different engineering group each week, except for the week we visited a science group. We saw how engineering was being used to solve several big real world problems  - generating energy, understanding cardiac cells, helping children with disabilities move. We also got to meet the engineers who work in those spaces. They were young and old, male and female, lots of skin colors, and from all over the world. The teachers developed a broad understanding of the range of problems that engineering can address, the range of people who become engineers, and the skills those people employ. The teachers expressed this was an important part of the experience for them. The broadening of their view of what engineering is increased the range of curriculum adaptations they created.

  • Icon for: Pam Pelletier

    Pam Pelletier

    May 21, 2017 | 07:53 a.m.

    Jennifer--Love that the work is taking on deeper learning in engineering for teachers instead of a bandaid made of "quick engineering activities." I am wondering about work in the context of the comment above this -- about the intersection of the engineering and the science group field trip. With so precious few moments allocated to science instruction, how can we learn to better leverage engineering and science DCIs? 

    I wish we could engineer "more time" for learning...   :)

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

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