Engineers Serving Education: Bringing math and science to life in the K-8 classroom

Stephen Rippon, James Collofello

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Many sources note the rapid erosion in the United States' competitiveness in science, technology, and engineering. They caution that the U.S. position as a global leader may be abruptly lost without a greatly expanded commitment to achieving success in advanced education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The 2007 seminal report regarding STEM education and careers, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm"1, makes numerous recommendations in long-term approaches to remedying this quandary. Primary to these recommendations is the need to increase America's talent pool by vastly improving PreK-12 STEM education. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University are developing a sustainable long-term partnership to reinvigorate STEM education in Arizona's K-8 schools and to engage and excite youth in preparing for futures in STEM-related careers. By combining the technical expertise and resources of the Fulton Engineering Schools with the educational expertise and resources of the Teachers College, the "Engineers Serving Education" initiative is currently training approximately 250 teacher candidates (formerly known as student teachers) in the principles of STEM education with the prospect of doubling that number during the 2012-13 academic year. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College recently reformed its undergraduate teacher preparation programs. A full year, full-time student teaching experience is a signature component of this new teacher preparation program called iTeach. Beginning July 2011, 500 teacher candidates began their full-year apprenticeship under the guidance of university faculty and mentor teachers in 18 local school districts. In its commitment to this collaboration, the Fulton Schools of Engineering is working with colleagues in the Teachers College to train the teacher candidates and their mentor teachers in the engineering design process and in the preparation and delivery of integrated STEM units that bring to life the mathematics and science lessons that they deliver to their students. Faculty in the engineering school and the teachers college are meeting with teacher candidates each month throughout the school year to introduce engineering concepts and to model instructional strategies necessary to implement project-based learning and integrated STEM education in the elementary school classroom. Each of the 250 teacher candidates, under the direction of their mentor teachers, is delivering 8 STEM units, impacting nearly 7,000 students overall during the 2011-2012 school year. Trained engineering students are assisting the teacher candidates and mentor teachers with delivering the STEM units and are serving as role models for the K-8 students. This paper inspects the collaboration and reviews the mechanics behind delivering such an innovative and far-reaching initiative. It will also take a close look at the collaborative roles played by elementary education faculty, engineering outreach staff, engineering education faculty, and elementary school teachers. The paper will also delineate the tools used to assess not only the impact on teacher candidates and the teacher mentors, but also those used to measure K-8 students' change in perception and value of STEM-related activities and studies, the increase in math and science aptitude, and the impact on students' long-term progress toward STEM-related studies and careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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