The 21st century has seen a growing movement in the United States towards the adoption of engineering and technology as a complement to science education. Motivated by this shift, this article offers insights into engineering education for grades P-12, based on a landscape review of 263 empirical research studies spanning the two decades from January 2000 to June 2021. These insights are organized around three core themes: (1) students’ understandings, skills, and attitudes about engineering and technology; (2) effective methods of P-12 engineering education; and (3) benefits of P-12 engineering education. The insights are captured in the form of evidence-based claims summarized as a set of ten findings. The findings start with the recognition that students at all age levels in the United States—though not in many other countries—have narrow conceptions of technology and engineering. A key finding is that for students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, it is important to develop their interest at an early age. Several findings address effective strategies for engaging students in engineering, both in schools and in afterschool and summer programs. These include generalizable teaching methods suitable across a wide range of educators and students, as well as topical approaches around specific themes such as the design of robots, or biomedical devices. One of the most encouraging findings is that multiple methods have successfully addressed a major social inequity: improving the attitudes, STEM skills, and career aspirations of girls, students of color, and students from low-income families. The last group of findings addresses the benefits of engineering education including not only increased knowledge and skills, but also lifelong skills such as teamwork, communication, and creativity, as well as persistence, motivation, self-confidence, and STEM identity. We hope that these insights may be of value to researchers, educators, administrators, and policy leaders.
Sneider, C. I.,
Ravel, M. K.
Insights from Two Decades of P-12 Engineering Education Research.
Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 11(2), Article 5.
Curriculum and Instruction Commons, Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Commons, Educational Methods Commons, Elementary Education Commons, Engineering Education Commons, Science and Mathematics Education Commons, Secondary Education Commons