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Are We Preparing the Next Generation? K-12 Teacher Knowledge and Engagement in Teaching Core STEM Practices

Abstract

"Several of the recent reform efforts in K-12 STEM education (e.g. Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS and Common Core State Standards-Mathematics [CCSS-M]) have included significant emphasis on the practices of STEM. We argue that K-12 teachers' ability to effectively engage their students in these core STEM practices is fundamental to the success of potential and current engineering students and their subsequent careers as engineers. Practices such as identifying problems, modeling using mathematics, and arguing from evidence are fundamental processes in engineering. Helping students develop their capacity to engage in these practices early in their education will increase the likelihood of the students applying the practices and developing skills aligned with the work of engineers. We contend that engaging in the practices associated with engineering may increase K-12 student interest and the successful pursuit of engineering as a career because they will find relevance in what is being taught and gain knowledge of the applications of STEM content which will help them develop talents aligned with the work of engineers."

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