Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Massachusetts' Great Engineering Experiment

Here's a neat idea...in order to encourage more students to enter math and science,
a third of Massachusetts high schools have introduced engineering courses into their standard curriculum. 80 schools are introducing 'engineering' as a fourth high school science option, along with biology, chemistry, and physics.

''Kids spend a month learning how volcanoes work and no time learning how cars work. How often do you find yourself in a volcano versus a car?" said Ioannis Miaoulis, director and president of the Museum of Science, which developed the engineering program most frequently taught in Massachusetts high schools.

Responding to a national need for more engineers, Massachusetts is moving faster than other states to bring engineering into primary and secondary schools. It was the first state to recommend that engineering be taught at all grade levels and is the only state to have an engineering exam as part of statewide testing, Miaoulis said. Some high school students now take the engineering and technology MCAS exam, though it doesn't yet count toward graduation. Starting with the class of 2010, students will have to pass a science test to graduate and can pick a test in one of four subjects, including engineering...

Acuna, who plays the piano and saxophone, had planned on becoming a dentist until this fall, when engineering appeared on his class schedule. He now plans to major in engineering next year in college.

''It's more hands-on stuff. You can actually build things," said Acuna, who used to think science was boring. ''The other science classes are more about taking notes and research. I actually look forward to this class every day." ..."

Engineering Boston Globe

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