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ERIC Number: EJ1016538
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
The Engineering Process in Construction & Design
Stoner, Melissa A.; Stuby, Kristin T.; Szczepanski, Susan
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v18 n6 p332-338 Feb 2013
Recent research suggests that high-impact activities in science and math classes promote positive attitudinal shifts in students. By implementing high-impact activities, such as designing a school and a skate park, mathematical thinking can be linked to the engineering design process. This hands-on approach, when possible, to demonstrate or investigate concepts is essential in motivating students, developing their thought processes, and stretching their understanding of the concepts. The authors participated in a three-year K-grade 12 STEM project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) where teams were focused on a specific STEM career path. Their mathematics team primary goal was the development of high-impact lessons that would pique the interest of their eighth-grade students and encourage them to pursue STEM careers. The first year of the grant coincided with the construction of an energy efficient middle school. As a result, the visual aid of the construction site was of interest to the students and allowed the teachers to demonstrate the practical application of mathematics. Students were asked to brainstorm ways that math might play a role in a construction project. The culminating Scale Model Project, involved creating a scale model of the new building. During the second year of the grant, the math team designed lessons using an amusement park theme. Many of the activities focused on typical amusement park rides such as the carousel, the Ferris wheel, and the roller coaster, with specific references to rides at the local amusement park. Focusing on the concept of motion, they structured lessons to teach topics such as distance as a function of rate and time, circular motion (of a Ferris wheel), relative speed (on a carousel), and scale models (of skate park elements). Implementing these approaches into structured activities using a questioning technique similar to the engineering design process and a hands-on approach, when possible, is essential in motivating students, developing their thought processes, and stretching their understanding of the concepts.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A