Since the inception of the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education in 2004, educators and researchers have struggled to identify the necessary components of a “good” engineering design challenge for high school students. In reading and analyzing the position papers on engineering design many themes emerged that may begin to form a narrative for engineering design in a high school setting. Before educators can provide a framework for engineering design in STEM courses, four questions need to be answered: (a) To what degree should engineering design challenges be open-ended or well-structured? (b) What are the relationships between engineering design experiences and standards –based instruction in STEM courses? (c) What is an effective sequencing of age-appropriate engineering design challenges? and (d) To what extent should engineering habits of thought and action be employed in resolving the challenges? (Householder, 2011) Collectively, the six position papers (Carr & Strobel, 2011; Eisenkraft, 2011; Hynes et al, 2011; Jonassen, 2011, Schunn, 2011; Sneider, 2011) provide an intriguing foundation for answering these questions and forming a framework for engineering design in high school STEM courses. This synthesis paper discusses the most pervasive themes of the papers and provides a narrative for answering the question, “What are the requirements for a good engineering design challenge?” The following emergent themes provide some guidance to finding answers for that question: engineering design in the science curriculum; assessing the engineering design experience; sequencing the engineering design experiences; and choosing engineering design challenges. By addressing these areas of contention, the education community can begin to lay the curricular and pedagogical groundwork needed to provide successful engineering experiences for high school students.
Denson, Cameron D., "Building a Framework for Engineering Design Experiences in STEM: A Synthesis" (2011). Publications. Paper 169.