University putting the E into STEM, makes engineering a K-12 focus

Science in the K-12 Schools: Oh we have it WRONG!” lecture Nov. 8

10/30/2012 - By: Mike Wolterbeek
Engineering STEM lecture Students examine and experiment with a laser demonstration, one of dozens of demonstrations as part of the 10th annual Day of Engineering, in which the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Engineering invites hundreds of 7th through12th grade students from Washoe County schools to visit as many as 15 engineering labs with interactive demonstrations and presentations. Photo by Sam DiMuzio, University of Nevada, Reno.

A new national initiative to build engineering into K-12 curriculum is the theme of a symposium on science and engineering education featuring guest speaker Ioannis Miaoulis, the driver behind the movement. The presentation Nov. 8 is part of the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series, in collaboration with the College of Education.

In his presentation, "Science in the K-12 Schools: Oh we have it WRONG!," Miaoulis, president and director of the Museum of Science in Boston, will talk about a major initiative to introduce the human-made world and engineering into schools nationwide. The lecture is at 6:15 p.m., Nov. 8, in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center Redfield Auditorium. A poster session featuring K-12 outreach programs within the Colleges of Engineering and Education will be held at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be offered.

According to Miaoulis, introducing engineering into the K-12 curriculum is important because engineering skills and concepts encourages students to use math and science knowledge to solve real problems and create new technologies. He asserts that engineering has been the missing component of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Dean Manos Maragakis of the College of Engineering agrees.

"There hasn't been as much emphasis on engineering as there has been on science and math as students prepare for college," he said. "We need a whole package to make it sustainable; a clear path from K-12 to the University to the workforce. This needs to be an initiative for the entire state."

Maragakis said a long-term vision is required and the key to producing people who can influence the economy is creating the path.

"We have already started building the path," he said. "This spring semester, we are offering a new course for teachers that will prepare them for teaching engineering in K-12. We have 30 registered already."

To attend the College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series, RSVP to or (775) 784-6925 on or before Nov. 1, 2012.

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