Sneha Tharayil, University of Texas at Austin posted a question on "Ask a Question"

PostedWednesday, November 18, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Anyone know of any good social-justice themed engineering design projects for the middle school level?
Coming from a Catholic school teaching background, there was a heavy emphasis on social justice and community-oriented curricula. In thinking about engineering design projects for my students, I always thought this was a good theme to incorporate because not only did it align with our school's mission, but this was a great way to emphasize the authenticity and relevancy of curricula for students. Furthermore, I believe that this is an excellent way to emphasize social/community responsibility, which I also think is one of the most fundamental tenets of engineering in that it is a community-oriented, problem-solving endeavor.
5 Answers
  • Posted Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 3:34 PM
    I also work at a Catholic school - a high school - where I coordinate our STEMM program.  I'm an engineer by formal education but have worked in K-12 STEM education for 20 years.
    One resource for service-connected engineering projects for college and K-12 is Purdue's EPICS program -
    https://engineering.purdue.edu/EPICS/k12
    Two other resources are:
    Engineering is Elementary - has specific connections to developing countries' (global) challenges
    http://www.eie.org/
    and
    Try Engineering - their lessons can be extended to relate to global issues
    http://tryengineering.org/
    
    Do you also know about the Grand Challenges for Engineering?
    Supposedly their K12 component is developing resources -
    
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  • Sneha Tharayil , University of Texas at Austin
    Posted Monday, January 11, 2016 at 9:20 PM
    Dr. Strobel, thank you for your response! Yes, I've heard about Purdue's EPICS program. I learned of it when I was applying to Purdue's Engineering Education program. The EPICS model is very impressive and I hope they develop this program further!
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  • Sneha Tharayil , University of Texas at Austin
    Posted Monday, January 11, 2016 at 9:14 PM
    Hi Mr. Huffman, thank you so much for the resource! That's fantastic! I love the themes/goals the units work towards. Does your organization have any other plans to develop any other similar units/projects, aside from the ones currently in development? 
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  • Posted Monday, January 11, 2016 at 4:48 PM
    Hi Sneha,
    Our organization (ITEEA) is part of a project out of Hofstra University that is focused, in part, on designing solutions to social, global issues. The project is supported through the National Science Foundation and is titled "Engineering for All". There are two units as part of the project. One is contextualized through the global issue of Water Scarcity. The second is closely tied with the first but revolves around access to Food. Each unit is 6-weeks in length and is designed for 6-8 grade, engineering and technology classrooms. We are in our 3rd year of the project and will be presenting much of the materials at the ITEEA conference in Washington DC this March (ITEEA.org). More information about the project can be found at http://www.hofstra.edu/academics/colleges/SEAs/ctl/efa/index.html
    
    Hope this is helpful. Feel free to contact me with any questions!
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  • Johannes Strobel , University of Missouri
    Posted Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 3:52 PM
    I know of EPICS High - which is aimed towards high school, yet many components would be suitable for middle school as well. You can find a link here:
    https://engineering.purdue.edu/EPICSHS/About
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