Engineering the Future 2.0 Recertified by STEM Works

Engineering the Future 2.0 Recertified by STEM Works


Written by: Dr. Cary Sneider and Mihir Ravel

Engineering the Future: Science, Technology and the Design Process is a full-year high school curriculum recently added to Activate Learning’s portfolio, and has the twin benefits of being fully aligned with new standards while still making engineering design relevant to all students. Developed by the National Center for Technological Literacy (Museum of Science, Boston), Engineering the Future (EtF) was designed for schools in Massachusetts, the first state to include engineering as a full partner to the natural sciences in its education system. Now that engineering is woven into the fabric of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), it is a leading candidate for adoption in more than 35 states that base their standards on the NGSS, or on A Framework for K-12 Science Education, that provided the blueprint for the NGSS.

Designing a “green” building using CAD.
(Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Museum
of Science Boston, photographer:
Andrew Brilliant

The curriculum is composed of four major Projects focused on engaging a wide range of students with themes relevant to their daily life. Students analyze needs and design solutions for themes such sustainable housing, transportation, communications, and entertainment. Student labs and design activities are guided by four Engineering Notebooks that are mapped to each project. The projects are supported by a Teacher Guide which follows the instructional approach of the well-established “5E’s” model. A complementary Student Reader provides thirty engaging chapters written by a range of engineers and technical professionals that provide close career links to the students’ daily activities.

A significant revision for 2018 expands on the “Maker” theme of the curriculum by introducing digital technologies to complement the rich set of physical hands-on design activities. The first Project, Jump Into Engineering, provides an easy ramp into the engineering design process and modeling with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools. The other projects can be presented in any order. Sustainable design is an essential feature of all four projects, as is the integration of the engineering concepts with supporting science concepts. For example, sustainability is a highlight of the Project Design a Green Building, but so is the science of materials and structures. Motion and energy are a key focus of Patent Your Vehicle Design, and electricity and magnetism are featured in Design with Light and Sound. Teachers and schools find this integration of engineering with science to be one of EtF’s high points.

Playing music through a student-made speaker.
(Image courtesy of Cary Sneider)

In addition to joining Activate’s family of curricula, we are pleased to announce that Engineering the Future 2.0 has recently been recertified by STEM Works, a searchable online honor roll of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs. STEM Works was created to help companies, states, and individuals make smart investments in their communities by evaluating and cataloging programs that meet rigorous and results-driven design principles. The following paragraphs provided the introduction to our STEM Works application:

Since Engineering the Future (EtF) was published in 2007, there have been significant developments in the field of science education, most notably the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which incorporates engineering at the same level as the traditional disciplines of life science, physical science, and Earth and space science. In parallel, the availability of affordable digital technologies has catalyzed the “maker movement” to create a revolution in informal technical learning by hobbyists and non-engineers. These two developments have had an important influence on our second revision of EtF.

Programs that are certified by STEM Works, including EtF, can be found at the following Web address:

Activate Learning welcomes the authors of EtF 2.0:

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Cary Sneider

Cary Sneider

EtF Project Director, is Associate Research Professor at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches courses in research methodology in a Master of Science Teaching degree program and co-directs two grant projects. He serves as a consultant to two philanthropic foundations and chairs a committee for the National Academy of Engineering. He was the lead consultant in engineering to the National Research Council for A Framework for K–12 Science Education, and served in a similar role on the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards. Dr. Sneider taught science in Maine, Costa Rica, Coalinga California, and the Federated States of Micronesia. He subsequently worked for 28 years at Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, where he was Director of Astronomy and Physics Education. He then moved to Boston to become Vice President for Programs at the Museum of Science. In 2011, he was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for “The Nation’s Report Card.” Dr. Sneider earned a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy at Harvard College, and doctoral degree in Science Education at UC Berkeley.

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Julie Brenninkmeyer

Johanna Bunn

is a high school mathematics teacher at the Arlington Public schools in Arlington, Massachusetts. Dr. Bunn’s teaching experience ranges from sixth grade through the university level and includes serving as on-camera instructor for five books published by Addison Wesley for college level introductory mathematics. She has also conducted professional development sessions on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in more than a dozen states and online. She served on the Technology-Engineering Advisory Council and the Technology-Engineering Assessment Development Committee for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Additionally, she has worked as an author, editor, and content consultant for Kaplan, Houghton-Mifflin, It’s About Time, and Pearson Education. Dr. Bunn earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, a master’s degree in secondary education, and a doctoral degree in curriculum and teaching from Boston University.

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Lee C. Pulis

Lee C. Pulis

is a curriculum writer and professional developer for the Museum of Science, Boston where he also moderates a teacher support site for over 500 EtF teachers. From 1996 to 2006, he served as Senior Scientist, NSF Principal Investigator, and Project Director on several federal grant and corporate client funded research-based curriculum projects at TERC in Cambridge, MA. Prior to that, he was Assistant Dean of Technical Education and Division Chair at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, MO, Department Co-Chair at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA, president of an industrial supply and motor rewinding service, and Environmental Division Supervisor for a major power plant architect-engineering firm. Mr. Pulis earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in Ecology and Systematics from Cornell University.

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Ioannis Miaoulis

Mihir K. Ravel

is a noted technologist and educator in electronic system design and STEM education. He has been an invited faculty at leading institutions in the U.S. and Asia to collaborate on design-centric learning approaches. He is currently a research faculty at Portland State University’s College of Engineering in Oregon, leading a Lemelson Foundation project on design and invention in high school science curricula. He also continues as a Distinguished Research Scientist at Olin College of Engineering, where he helped develop the Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship program. Prior to his focus on education, Mr. Ravel’s corporate career spanned three decades of leading high-tech R&D organizations. He served as Vice-President of Technology for National Instruments, a global pioneer in computer-based automation, control, and system design, and as a Corporate Fellow and Director of Strategic Technologies for Tektronix, a global leader in high performance instrumentation and electronic design. Mr. Ravel earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has advanced graduate studies in semiconductors, digital communications, optics, neural networks, and electronic design from various universities.

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