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ERIC Number: EJ1141576
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2158-0502
Mason Bee Habitations: Teaching Proper "Making" Skill through Authentic Engineering Design Contests. Resources in Technology and Engineering
Cool, Nate; Strimel, Greg J.; Croly, Michael; Grubbs, Michael E.
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v76 n8 p20-25 May-Jun 2017
To be technologically and engineering literate, people should be able to "make" or produce quality solutions to engineering design challenges while recognizing and understanding how to avoid hazards in a broad array of situations when properly using tools, machines, and materials (Haynie, 2009; Gunter, 2007; ITEA/ITEEA, 2000/2002/2007). However, the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress's (NAEP) Technology and Engineering Literacy assessment have indicated that students in the U.S. have few valuable opportunities to practice tinkering and making within schools (Change the Equation, 2016). As stated by Strimel, Grubbs, and Wells (2016), these opportunities to explore and understand the proper use of industry-standard tools, materials, and software were historically a core characteristic of technology education programs. However, these features seem to have faded from secondary engineering/technology (ET) programs as they may have been forced to transition towards the use of low-cost, low-tech tools/materials as the main sources for production or making. Haynie (2008), reflecting on his experiences over decades of work in technology education, emphasizes that students have now evolved to a point where they can discuss the impacts and trade-offs of new technologies, yet cannot perform a task such as properly joining two materials together. Moreover, Strimel, Cantu, Kim, and Grubbs (2017) found that college-level engineering students had difficulty solving an open-ended design challenge and producing a physical prototype of a solution. They observed postsecondary engineering students manipulating materials without making any measurements, using tools and materials improperly (e.g., hammering a screw into a piece of wood), and performing unsafe operations with simple hand tools (e.g., failing to put a drill bit into a power drill and opting to stab holes into a material using a screwdriver). In 2008 Haynie discussed a similar trend after observing secondary students trying to cut a 3/8" dowel rod with a ripsaw or choosing to use a piece of wood with the grain oriented in the wrong direction to make a jig, which resulted in failed production. Haynie stated that it was clear that no one on the team--students or teachers--knew any better in these situations. it is important that ET teachers craft learning activities that utilize engineering design-based pedagogies to teach engineering and technology concepts and require the developmentally appropriate application of connected content knowledge from other subjects while integrating tool/material technique and skills. This article presents a sample middle school engineering-design-based lesson created to integrate STEM content while teaching proper "making" skills through the authentic context of a global issue. This lesson, which is provided in Tables 1 and 2, follows the format presented by Grubbs and Strimel (2015) and specifically focuses on the global impacts of the bee population decline.
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. 1914 Association Drive Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539. Tel: 703-860-2100; Fax: 703-860-0353; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A