Wednesday, September 11, 2019

For Immediate Release

Educators Explore Real-World Applications of Engineering

Norfolk, MA – Elementary and middle school teachers in the Southeast region of Massachusetts engaged in hands-on, minds-on engineering investigations and observed real-life applications of the Science and Engineering Practices by visiting local manufacturers during the Wade Institute for Science Education’s Summer Professional Development Institute. Educators who attended witnessed first-hand how the engineering design process is used to develop innovative products and how science has informed the advancements of technologies. The Institute was based out of Coyle & Cassidy High School and Middle School and coordinated by Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.

Teachers began their July 15th -19th institute by looking in detail at how the Science and Engineering Practices and Disciplinary Core Ideas outlined in the MA 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework progress across grade levels. Keeping these learning progressions in mind, participants gained a better understanding of how to support their students’ interest in and pursuit of STEM careers by exploring the products developed at local engineering companies and the processes used to develop their products. During a visit to North Easton Machine Company, educators witnessed the manufacturing of custom components for a wide variety of applications. They took part in a behind-the-scenes look at the tools engineers use, such as blueprints, computer-aided design & computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), 3D printing and state of the art machines used in the manufacturing process. At Sensata Technologies, teachers took a close look at the engineering design process and rigorous testing involved in the production of specialized sensors for the automotive and other industries. After walking through the environmental, chemical, and CT scan analysis labs, they engaged in an inquiry investigation to use the engineering design process to build and test gravity-powered cars. To refine their understanding of engineering applications in materials science, participants discussed the engineer design process and career paths with engineers at AccuRounds. They then visited the manufacturing floor to witness the use of state of the art 3-D printers and other equipment being used in the manufacturing of custom precision mechanical components.

Teachers reflected on their week of learning and connected their experiences with educators at Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Coyle & Cassidy High School and Middle School. Engaging in one last hands-on, minds-on investigation, participants used their cell phones to apply the scientific process and research design to address the application of technology to natural resource issues. They shared ideas to incorporate principles of engineering, science and inquiry-based learning into their classrooms, and brainstormed potential science and engineering projects that could be implemented on school grounds in the upcoming year.

Participants in this institute gained valuable behind-the-scenes insights into the world of manufacturing as they investigated how engineers solve modern-day problems and design challenges. As part of a collaborative cohort of colleagues, teachers worked together to develop inquiry-based lessons to incorporate materials science into their curriculum and to use more techniques to engage their students in the engineering design process. Following the institute, teachers developed inquiry- based engineering investigations to use in their classrooms. During the school year these teachers will use the content of the course and their connections to local STEM resources to bring engineering concepts, the engineering design process and materials science to life in their classrooms.

The Southeast Region 2019 Summer Professional Development Institute was held by the Wade Institute for Science Education in partnership with Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and in collaboration with Coyle & Cassidy High School and Middle School, AccuRounds, North Easton Machine Company and Sensata Technologies. Learn more at:


The Wade Institute for Science Education specializes in providing inquiry-based, hands-on, minds-on, science, technology and engineering professional development for K-12 teachers and informal educators.  For more information, visit or call 617-328-1515.

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