Implementing Engineering Experiences In The Middle School

Project dates: 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2011

The number of Australian engineering graduates per million lags behind most other OECD nations, with females significantly underrepresented. Fostering an early interest in engineering is paramount. This seminal, 3-year longitudinal study across grades 7-9 introduces innovative engineering-based problem solving that builds on existing mathematics/science curricula. Students will learn foundational engineering ideas, principles, and design processes; develop understanding of engineering in society; and apply their school learning to real-world problems. Outcomes include documented developments in male/female students’ learning, teachers’ growth in implementing engineering, and a bank of sustainable school engineering resources.

Engineering and science are increasingly recognized as enablers for invention, innovation, and economic growth. Advances in these domains that improve society will increasingly depend on our ability to educate school students about the world of engineering prior to entering university. The study’s national benefits include: exposing young students to the world of engineering and its rich career opportunities; showcasing engineering for female students; promoting mathematics and science as key enabling subjects for engineering; addressing national research priorities including an environmentally sustainable Australia; and engaging engineers and educators, including undergraduates, in seminal collaborative research and resource development.

The purpose of this project is to:

  1. Develop and implement engineering-based problem-solving activities in the middle school.
  2. Introduce students and their teachers to foundational engineering ideas, principles, and design processes, which draw upon existing mathematics and science curricula.
  3. Foster students’ and teachers’ knowledge and understanding of engineering in society
  4. Increase our knowledge base by documenting and evaluating (a) developments in students’ and teachers’ learning in engineering, including a focus on any student gender differences, and (b) ways in which engineering education can be implemented in the middle school curriculum.

Funding / Grants

  • Linkage (2009 - 2011)

Chief Investigators


Other Team Members

Engineering Experience in the Middle School