Document Type



National Center for Engineering and Technology Education

Publication Date



Successful strategies for incorporating engineering design challenges into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses in American high schools are presented in this paper. The developers have taken the position that engineering design experiences should be an important component of the high school education of all American youth. In most instances, these experiences in engineering design are infused into instruction programs in standards-based courses in science, technology, or mathematics. Sometimes the courses are designated as engineering courses and the engineering design component is emphasized. A growing number of researchers seek to understand whether the development of engineering habits of thought and action in high school STEM courses leads to improvements in problem solving abilities, systems thinking, integration of STEM content, increased interest in engineering, and feelings of self- efficacy about pursuing additional engineering activities. We have attempted to integrate these findings, to draw inferences that reflect the current body of knowledge, and to call attention to promising contemporary practices. This paper is intended to provide guidelines for the development of authentic engineering design challenges, to describe instructional strategies for introducing engineering design experiences to high school students, and to offer suggestions for the assessment of the outcomes of engineering design activities. The information is intended to be useful in planning, organizing, and implementing the infusion of engineering design challenges in high school STEM courses. The paper is not intended as a detailed guide for curriculum development, comprehensive instructional design, or the assessment of achievement across the range of high school STEM courses.



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