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Integrating Engineering into Core Science Instruction: Translating NGSS Principles into Practice through Iterative Curriculum Design


The Next Generation Science Standards now integrate science and engineering through their Core Ideas and Practices dimensions. Portions of the engineering design process included in these standards emphasize: 1) defining problems through identifying criteria and constraints, 2) developing solutions to those problems, and 3) optimizing those solutions to best fit the criteria and constraints. The Science Learning Integrating Design, Engineering, and Robotics (SLIDER) project, funded through the NSF DRK-12 program for five years, set out to investigate this integration through the use of robotics and design to develop conceptual understanding among 8th grade physical science students. Through three years of curriculum development and iteration, the SLIDER curriculum faced several challenges in making this integrated approach both effective and practical in a diverse array of schools. This paper presents that story and makes suggestions critical to others designing for the NGSS and developing theory around integrated STEM learning.