Youth Engaging in Engineering Design for Social Justice

In I-Engineering, we have worked collaboratively with teachers and students using participatory design research methods to co-develop and implement energy engineering for sustainable community tools and materials in their classrooms. In this video, we discuss how teachers and students implemented one of our units (“How can I make my classroom more sustainable?”). In the unit, they integrated community ethnography into the engineering design process as a way to engage with community perspectives. Using what they learned about engineering practices and the DCIs of energy transformations, sources and systems, students were supported by teachers in identifying problems meaningful to the classroom and local community, and applying their STEM knowledge to iteratively prototype working solutions. As the teacher of the Occupied group said, “this is one project that will really promote classroom sustainability.” As a student in the Occupied group said, “This was the first time I felt like I could be an engineer.” Our goal is to support teachers and students in developing their agency and identities in engineering while gaining deeper knowledge and practices in science and engineering.

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Teaching Engineering for Sustainable Communities in the Middle School

The I-Engineering project works to co-develop and implement energy engineering for sustainable community units with middle school students and teachers. These units support youth in designing solutions to challenges that matter to their local community. Youth develop expertise in renewable energy systems, circuitry, engineering practices and community ethnography. Through this work, the I-Engineering team has developed and collected resources that will support others in teaching engineering for sustainable communities and in ways that support youth in developing STEM knowledge and practices, and engaging in productive identity work in engineering, capable of making a difference in the world. This site shares these materials.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, DRL #1502755
PIs: Angela Calabrese Barton (Michigan State University), Edna Tan (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), and Scott Calabrese Barton (Michigan State University).