The impacts of two curricula on middle-level students’ engineering understanding

Emily P. Driessen, Jennifer Wilhelm, Merryn Cole, Ashley Dunn, Kameisha Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


K-12 science teachers in the United States are encouraged to teach their students engineering. When incorporating engineering into their science curricula, teachers commonly either focus on (1) engineering and lace science throughout or (2) science and lace engineering throughout. This study explores middle school students’ nature of engineering understanding before and after instruction with different engineering foci through the collection and analysis of student surveys (n∼200) and interviews (n = 16). Findings demonstrated centering science while lacing engineering throughout allowed for a slight increase in the understanding that engineers use science and math, however, centering engineering allowed students to understand many more attributes of engineers (i.e., engineers invent/design/create, improve things, fix, and solve problems) after instruction than they did prior to instruction. These findings and their limitations are discussed in relation to the developing Nature of Engineering framework and the new content demands of the U.S. Next Generation Science Standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Design
  • education interviews
  • learning
  • nature of engineering
  • science education
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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