K-12 Project Management Education: NASA Hunch Projects

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Joe Morgan
Wei Zhan
Matt Leonard


K-12 Education, Project Management, Engineering Education, STEM


To increase the interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among high school students, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) created the “High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware” (HUNCH) program. To enhance the experience of the students, NASA sponsored two additional projects that require universities to design and implement educational modules to be delivered over two (fall and spring) semesters to the six high schools in the area of project management. These modules exposed the students to project management concepts and tools that can be applied in their HUNCH projects. The benefits of the project management modules are: 1) acquiring knowledge in project management, 2) timely, cost- effective execution of the HUNCH projects, and most important, 3) increased student interest in STEM. This article discusses the details of Texas A&M University’s design and implementation of the project management modules. The faculty members involved in the sponsored research projects designed and taught the educational modules. The educational modules were reviewed by the Project Management Institute-Clear Lake (PMI-CL) to ensure consistency with PMI’s project management standards. Texas A&M University partnered with three high schools during this project. Undergraduate students at Texas A&M University who were enrolled in a project management course using project management techniques to complete their capstone design projects mentored the high school students. The interactions between the undergraduate and high school students proved beneficial to both parties. Pre- and post- tests in project management were designed and conducted in each high school. The data are used to analyze the effectiveness of student learning. 


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