The STEAM-Active (Project Number: 2021-1-ES01-KA220-HED-000032107) project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

NGSS-based teacher professional development to implement engineering practices in STEM instruction

Partners' Institution
University of the Basque Country
Year of publication
Educational stage
Secondary Level, University Level
Journal name
International Journal of STEM Education
Thematic Area
STEAM intervention (teaching strategies, evaluation...)
The present study explored the affective impacts of participation in an engineering education workshop for secondary STEM teachers as part of a 200-h professional development program. The workshop focused on the implementation of electrical engineering and biotechnology principles and design practices in disciplinary instruction, as well as training teachers to differentiate among engineering fields and advise on career pathways. Findings indicated that participating teachers significantly improved their confidence in engineering pedagogy, as well as their knowledge of engineering careers and pre-college preparation for post-secondary engineering. Teachers expressed their views of engineering as a potentially powerful tool in developing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, particularly when integrating the practices of science and engineering with the instruction of disciplinary content.
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
A significant obstacle to the success of NGSS implementation is the inadequate preparation of secondary school teachers to address the engineering components of the standards. Very few secondary science, mathematics, and technology educators have either educational or practical experience with engineering and many have significant misconceptions or a complete lack of knowledge of engineering.
Research has shown that employing an engineering design protocol to support STEM instruction can improve student understanding and knowledge retention of related STEM content, as well as foster critical problem-solving skills and technological literacy. Additionally, engaging students in engineering systems design tasks to create solutions for technical challenges has been shown to diminish the opportunity gap and subsequent performance disparities for traditionally underrepresented groups of students.
Research has identified several aspects of STEM teacher professional development that may improve teachers’ knowledge of science and engineering principles, as well as affective domains related to pedagogical confidence. These aspects include collective participation, focus on disciplinary content knowledge, active teacher learning, and coherence through an overall program of teacher learning and ongoing communication.
The workshops were taught and developed collaboratively among university science education, biology, physics, and engineering faculty. The workshops focused specifically on the engineering design principles emphasized throughout the NGSS and American Society for Engineering Education standards There were two modules: (1) electrical engineering co-instructed with physics education faculty (6 h); and (2) biotechnology co-instructed with biology education faculty (4 h). Each module addressed disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices through theory-based instruction and discussions, hands-on tasks, and collaborative assessment design.
The findings from the present study suggest a university-based professional development program in STEM integration had immediate affective impacts with regard to engineering epistemologically sound beliefs, pedagogical self-efficacy, and advisement and career awareness. Surveyed teachers reported improved confidence in explaining engineering concepts and design, implementing activities with appropriate materials and resources, applying content principles to engineering, assessing student work in engineering, and promoting student interaction, interest, and positive attitudes toward engineering.
Point of Strength
This article adds more information on the positive impact that teacher training on engineering-focused STEM projects can have. However, it does not give specific information about the training program.
Engineering education, K-12 education, Mixed methods research, Precollege STEM preparation, Professional development, STEM integration
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

The STEAM-Active project | Copyright 2022