Community Engagement Through STEM Education

Guiding Principles

Futures in Engineering 2012 snippetOur programs endeavour to:

  1. Set learning in a real-world context.
  2. Use narratives to develop and motivate students’ understanding of the place of engineering in the world.
  3. Demonstrate how engineers help people, animals, or society.
  4. Provide role models with a range of demographic characteristics.
  5. Present engineering design challenges that are authentic to engineering practice.
  6. Ensure that engineering design challenges are truly open-ended with more than one correct answer.
  7. Value failure for what it teaches.
  8. Produce engineering design challenges that can be evaluated with both qualitative and quantitative measures.
  9. Cultivate collaboration and teamwork.
  10. Engage students in active, hands-on, inquiry-based engineering.
  11. Scaffold student work.
  12. Model and make explicit the practices of engineering.
  13. Assume no previous familiarity with materials, tasks, or terminology.
  14. Produce activities and lessons that are flexible to the needs and abilities of different kinds of learners.
  15. Demonstrate that “everyone engineers” and everyone can engineer.
  16. Cultivate learning environments in which all students’ ideas and contributions have value.
  17. Foster children’s agency as engineers.
  18. Develop engineering design challenges that require low-cost, readily available materials.

The above principles have been adapted from: Cunningham, C.M., and Lachapelle, C.P.  (2012). Engaging all Students in Engineering and STEM. 2nd P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research Summit, April 26-28. Washington DC, USA.