Dr. Steve Watkins, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, recently served as guest editor of the Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, a half-yearly publication for educators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The special issue, available online at www.jstem.org, focuses on outreach efforts for technical education from kindergarten to fourth grade. "The needs, environment and opportunities of elementary education are different than for the higher grades," Watkins says.
The issue includes two papers from UMR researchers. Watkins and Theresa Swift, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering from Piedmont, Mo., co-authored "An Engineering Primer for Outreach to K-4 Education." The authors describe the lessons learned by UMR engineering faculty and students through interaction with local, in-service elementary school teachers. Science and mathematics instruction for elementary education, example lessons, and a listing of other available resources are discussed.
In "Inquiry-Based Pre-Engineering Activities for K-4 Students," UMR graduate Michele Perrin discusses the use of inquiry-based tools, such as questioning, critical thinking and problem solving, to introduce students to the concepts and terminology found in four introductory engineering courses. Perrin received her master’s degree in electrical engineering from UMR in 2004.