Do Engineers Drive Trains or Make iPods? Partnering to Promote Engineering in K-12

Event Date: September 10, 2013
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Computer History Museum
1401 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View, California
Monica Cardella
Monica Cardella
Senay Purzer
Senay Purzer
Purdue-Silicon Valley Symposium:
Monica Cardella, Associate Professor and Senay Purzer, Assistant Professor Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) School of Engineering Education

The U.S. Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has called for an additional 10,000 engineers a year and has recognized that the U.S. shortage of engineers is hindering our global competitiveness and threatening our ability to create and keep high-tech jobs. The School of Engineering Education at Purdue and our P-12 engineering education research institute were created to find answers to these issues.


The number of students choosing engineering as a career path has consistently slipped in the last decades. To complicate concerns, recent data reveal waning student interest in engineering and general STEM as early  as second and third grades. Our research shows that the earlier the better in introducing engineering concepts into the P-6 classrooms and out-of-school programs. Focusing on the key age and grade levels for improving national STEM education is showing interesting, encouraging results.


The Next Generation Science Standards provide a structure at the national level for students to develop sound understanding of engineering practices such as design, optimization and balancing trade-offs. While the emphasis is on teaching science through engineering design, there are new opportunities for understanding what engineers do and new opportunities for students to make informed decisions to potentially pursue engineering careers. This talk will present research on engineering education at the K-12 level and provide our vision of a successful engineering classroom and leave the audience with tools and strategies to promote engineering at K-12 schools or in their interactions with children outside of school.