Bridging education and engineering students through a wind energy-focused community engagement project
Regional growth in offshore wind energy development, changes to the state’s K-12 science standards, and a desire to deepen undergraduate student learning coalesced to inspire an interdisciplinary community engagement project bridging university courses in engineering and education. The project consists of three main activities: a professional development event for local fourth grade teachers, five classroom lessons designed and taught by undergraduate engineering and education majors, and a final celebration event, all focused around the topics of wind energy and engineering design. This spring, the project was carried out for the third consecutive year, though each year’s implementation has been unique due to the timing of the onset of COVID-19. Analysis of responses from the Teaching Engineering Self-Efficacy Scale and an end-of-semester course survey demonstrate growth in student learning and transferrable skills from participating in the semester-long project. Additionally, exploration of students’ narrative work provides a richness to further understanding their growth and challenges they confronted. This interdisciplinary community engagement project will continue into future years, with improvements informed by the findings of this work, most notably with the hope of returning to a fully in-person delivery of lessons to fourth-graders.
Benitz, M., & Yang, L. (2018). Bridging education and engineering students through a wind energy-focused community engagement project. Sustainability (Switzerland), 13 (16) https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169334