Technology camp for teachers - Bringing multidisciplinary engineering into the middle school classroom

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Conference Proceeding

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As part of a three year program funded by the State Department of Education through the No Child Left Behind Act, a two-week summer workshop was held in 2006 for middle school mathematics and science teachers at the Colorado School of Mines. This three year grant, titled "Physical Science in the Middle School Classroom", was designed to improve middle school teachers' knowledge of the application of science and mathematics to engineering. During the first two years of this grant, efforts were dedicated to illustrating the physical science and mathematical concepts that are reflected in chemical, electrical, mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering. Topics included heat flow, acid/base reactions, basic electric circuits, graphing, and ratios and proportions. This knowledge was further extended in the third year when participating teachers learned how technology could be used to enhance multidisciplinary instruction. Topics addressed in the third workshop included, "How a Computer Is Built" (computer science, chemical engineering, and electrical engineering), "Robotics" (mechanical and electrical engineering) and "GPS mapping" (computer science, civil and electrical engineering). A group of twenty-five teachers have participated in all three summer offerings as well as the bi-weekly follow-up classroom visits that occur throughout the academic year. Participating teachers report that they value the interaction between the topics of mathematics and science along with engineering and are using multidisciplinary engineering materials in their classrooms. Furthermore, a paired t-test on a pre and post content assessment suggests that significant improvement (a mean score of 16 out of 30 increased to a mean score of 23 out of 30) occurred in teachers' content knowledge of physical science and mathematics over the course of the workshop. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2007.

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