TeachEngineering.org is a searchable, web-based digital library collection populated with standards-based engineering curricula for use by K-12 teachers and engineering faculty to make applied science and math (engineering) come alive in K-12 settings. The award-winning ITL Program is committed to creating a more diverse student population at CU Boulder and broadening the exposure of K-12 students—particularly students of color, young women, low-income and first-generation college-bound students—to engineering. Lesson plans and activity components include learning objectives, correlated educational standards, teacher background information, vocabulary and definitions, engineering connections, embedded assessment activities, troubleshooting tips, estimated cost and time required, and attached worksheets and handouts. Most activities creatively use ordinary and inexpensive supplies found at grocery and/or hardware stores.
In January 2003, a team of university researchers received National Science Foundation funding to create the web-based TeachEngineering.org digital library collection - populated with searchable, standards-based K-12 curricula for use by science teachers and engineering faculty to teach engineering in K-12 settings. The grant was a collaborative effort between professors in Information Systems and Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, Duke University, Colorado School of Mines, Oregon State University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The idea was to build upon the extensive K-12 engineering curriculum already developed by four universities with National Science Foundation's GK-12 program funding, and merge the curricula from these individual sites into a unified and useful collection of free and accessible resources. The Oregon State University Open Source Lab provides hosting and system administration for the TeachEngineering website and development servers.
Development of the collection was motivated by the following:To consolidate and make searchable a large amount of excellent curriculum that was previously dispersed over various organizations, and which was stored in different formats and different document structures.
All learning materials in TeachEngineering use engineering as the vehicle to study math and science. As such, TeachEngineering is meant to promote the use of engineering as a means for learning in K-12 environments.
TeachEngineering lessons and exercises are structured to fit teaching K-12 students and to provide K-12 science and math teachers with suitable and hands-on curriculum at no cost except their effort having to master and improve it. With this approach the collection developers hope to support teachers and students in poorer schools and districts.
All teaching materials in TeachEngineering are 'aligned' with the mathematics, science and technology K-12 educational standards of all U.S. states as well as with the standards formulated by a variety of nongovernmental national standard bodies. This should make it easier for teachers to find curriculum that fits the standards to which they must teach.
TeachEngineering has long been recognized for its high quality, receiving the National Science Digital Library 2010 Recognition of Excellence Award, and as a component of the National Academy of Engineering’s 2008 Gordon Prize.
In the National Academy of Engineering book, Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century, three ITL Program initiatives are featured as exemplars: the K-12 TeachEngineering digital library; retention of students who take the First-Year Engineering Projects (GEEN 1400) course; and the Invention and Innovation (GEEN 3400) course for preparing students with the skills for rapid technological change.
Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE) Member, National Academy of Engineering. Invited for this affiliation in recognition of our six-year GEEN 1400 retention study and our TeachEngineering K-12 engineering curricula initiative.