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Engineering is being currently taught in the full spectrum of the P-12 system, with an emphasis on design-oriented teaching (Brophy, Klein, Portsmore, & Rogers, 2008). Due to only a small amount of research on the learning of engineering design in elementary and middle school settings, the community of practice lacks the necessary knowledge of the trajectory of students' learning progressions towards design mastery and expertise and the appropriateness of otherwise established design pedagogies. The issue is even more pressing since many states are embedding engineering into their standards without a clear notion of how engineering (often conceptualized as design) works within existing standards (Strobel, Carr, Martinez-Lopez & Bravo, 2011). This paper synthesizes existing literature, which might provide us with insights on how to further investigate the issue of appropriate design pedagogies. At first, the paper contextualizes existing PBL research into engineering design. Second, the paper synthesizes the literature on inductive teaching and expert-novice differences as an additional literature base to conceptualize the role of design and engineering in the schooling system. Third, the paper contextualizes the questions on problem-appropriateness in engineering design into the current debate on engineering standards and their role in the P-12 education system.