2006 EPO Award Recipient
Taking the Next Step toward Aerospace Education
Investigator: John Chandler
Texas Tech Univeristy College of Engineering will submit a proposal to develop and disseminate curriculum that focuses on using space related components that will integrate into 6-12 grade-level course materials. We will also provide space-related training to K-12 teachers, learning experiences for K-12 students using NASA curriculum, and opportunities to increase public awareness of the importance of NASA research.
The Center for Engineering Outreach has been actively involved in developing curriculum content, teacher training, after-school programs, and other resources for K-12 educators. The center aims at both increasing the number of K-12 students entering higher education programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and providing them with the rigorous academic preparation necessary to successfully earn their degrees.
Our teacher training efforts have proven an effective strategy for making a positive impact in K-12 education. Our professional development workshops provide teachers with STEM content knowledge and skills, which they are taught to implement in their classrooms using a multi-disciplinary, inquiry-based pedagogy that requires students to apply STEM concepts and skills to resolve hands-on engineering projects. In addition to learning advanced STEM concepts and exciting teaching methods, teachers leave our workshops with a better understanding of engineering practice and disciplinary areas so they may better advise their students about engineering careers. We currently offer several training workshops for K-12 teachers in the areas of robotics and aerospace --- both of which have significant aerospace content.
Our participation in the Texas Partnership for Aeroscience Education (TPAE) --- a consortium that includes Fredericksburg ISD, Texas Tech, Midland College, and Pecos County Spaceport Development, Inc. --- has allowed us to develop curriculum and expertise to involve more K-12 teachers and students in aerospace education. The project that we will be proposing will provide a framework not only to leverage and expand the scope and quality of a number of existing educational programs sponsored by TPAE partners, but it will also provide the basis for developing new teacher training and course content in aerospace education.