A Unique Methodology For Implementing High School Capstone Experiences Through Teacher Professional Development

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Jessica Chin
Abe Zeid
Claire Duggan
Sagar Kamarthi

Keywords

STEM, Engineering, Capstone, EDP, CAPSULE, Technology Education, Product Design

Abstract

Innovators and abstract thinkers - students who question why are going to be the future of engineering, of science and cures for diseases. Rarely do students ask where and how innovation is created. Students, particularly post-secondary students have lost their curiosity and they have lost their ability to question. Why? Because the relationship between theory and application has been removed from our high schools. Although the term “STEM” is generally used, students do not appear to understand the importance of core STEM principles such as Newton’s 2nd law and therefore do not understand the influence these basic algorithms have in daily life. In recent decades, high school education has focused on quizzes and exams, state and national standardize testing and SATs. More emphasis is placed on performing well on these exams, focusing on memorization and test taking rather than on thorough comprehension. The question is, “how do you translate theory to application in the high school classroom?” Students’ knowledge and engagement are only as good as their teachers. Educators need to be given the proper tools, resources, and knowledge. CAPSULE, a capstone-based experience provides tools, resources, and knowledge to enhance the teaching and learning involvement. CAPSULE teaches and promotes inquiry, exploration and application rather than just theory. The methodology engages and educates hands-on learning, teamwork and multiple solutions through the engineering design process (EDP). The theory behind innovation is the motivation for CAPSULE – to teach and engage teachers using 3D modeling, EDP, and project-based learning to create a high school capstone experience. This paper presents a new approach of teaching STEM related courses to high school students. The methodology presented is on “training the trainer” to enable and empower teachers to master and utilize this new approach. 

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