Framework for P-12 Engineering Learning

A Defined and Cohesive Educational Foundation for P-12 Engineering

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Engineering touches every aspect of human life, from providing access to clean drinking water to 5G telecommunications and vaccine development. Yet few young people ever encounter the subject in school or graduate with the foundational skills and knowledge to pursue engineering studies and careers. Now more than ever, we must inspire and prepare our students to grow into the informed designers and innovators the world needs to solve the tough challenges facing us today and in the future. In short, engineering learning is essential for every child in every school, town, city, and county in the country. Many of us within the P-12 education community recognize that there is something special about engineering learning. When given the opportunity to engineer, students of a variety of ages and backgrounds are motivated and eager to tackle difficult problems. They work together. They communicate. They are critical and creative and resourceful. We’ve seen it with our own eyes, experienced it as teachers and professional development coordinators, and advocated for it at parent/teacher nights, school board meetings, and legislative briefings. We know that engineering should be taught in parallel with science and math to ensure an equitable, authentic, relevant, and exciting STEM education experience. However, there have been minimal efforts at the state and local level toward adopting engineering as a distinct component of every child’s schooling.

The Framework for P-12 Engineering Learning is a step toward changing that status quo and democratizing engineering learning across all grade levels, preschool through high school. The framework was developed with teachers, school administrators, and researchers working in concert with leaders of the Advancing Excellence in P-12 Engineering Education (AE3) research collaborative and the American Society of Engineering Education. It provides practical guidance by identifying common P-12 engineering learning goals that all students should reach to become engineering literate. The document will add structure and coherence to the P-12 engineering community by serving as a foundation for the development of any and all engineering programs in schools, informing state and national standards-setting efforts, and providing researchers with a common starting point to better investigate and understand P-12 engineering learning.

The framework is envisioned as both a practical guide and critical first step in a national movement to make engineering a part of every child’s educational experience. Whether you are a state education policy leader, district administrator, teacher, researcher, industry partner, or educational company, we invite you to join us in our mission.


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