The “E” in STEM

Author: German Ramos, Project Coordinator: Transformation Central T-STEM Center

Nowadays, the trend in best practice education is to teach students the process of problem solving rather than the teacher explaining step-by-step how to solve a given problem.  The overall education system faces the monumental challenge of finding practical methods in which problem solving skills and subject content can be combined without neglecting the state mandated objectives.  With the big push in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), it seems that implementing the “E” in STEM is the hardest part of this equation.

The ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) definition of Engineering is: “The profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.”

According to this definition, the knowledge of science and mathematics applied with technology is, in fact, considered engineering.  Educators find themselves confronted with the challenge of being able to provide experiences and allow for practice in addition to delivering the science and mathematics content currently required by the state throughout the school year.  The reality for many is that achieving this ideal balance is time consuming and often resources are scarce.  However, we must keep in mind that engineering provides the opportunity to expose students to science, mathematics, and technology all in one context, even if engineering-based courses are not required by the state.

There are certainly many initiatives for having Engineering in the classroom.  The addition of a few more engineering-based courses is proof of this.  There is still much work that needs to be done in order to more effectively implement these practices into the education system.  The bridge between schools, higher education institutions, and industry is essential to create a vertical alignment of knowledge, skills, and experiences needed by students to be able to succeed in this problem-solving based real world.

To explore how teaching engineering in the classroom may benefit skills future engineers may need, please visit:

To explore engineering resources for the classroom please visit:


List of Various TEA courses that meet/or incorporate engineering standards.

Electricity and Magnetism – Electricity and Magnetism is designed to provide an in-depth introduction to the concepts of electricity and electronics for the student who plans to major in an engineering discipline at the university level. With a concentrated and extended study of electricity and magnetism, the student will be aptly prepared to enter the highly competitive university environment. *

Introduction to Renewable Energy – This course provides the foundation for a deeper understanding of the problems, issues, perspectives, and developments in the areas of bio-fuels, solar and wind energy. A significant focus of the course will be on critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and communication of ideas relating to renewable energy. *

Science and Technology – Science and Technology (SciTech) is a high-level, hands-on science and engineering course. Through self and peer evaluation, SciTech requires students to interact verbally, in writing, and through improving the performance of devices. *

Concepts of Engineering and Technology – Concepts of Engineering and Technology provides an overview of the various fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and their interrelationships. Students will use a variety of computer hardware and software applications to complete assignments and projects. Upon completing this course, students will have an understanding of the various fields and will be able to make informed decisions regarding a coherent sequence of subsequent courses. Further, students will have worked on a design team to develop a product or system. Students will use multiple software applications to prepare and present course assignments. **

Engineering Design and Presentation – Students enrolled in this course will demonstrate knowledge and skills of the process of design as it applies to engineering fields using multiple software applications and tools necessary to produce and present working drawings, solid model renderings, and prototypes. Students will use a variety of computer hardware and software applications to complete assignments and projects. Through implementation of the design process, students will transfer advanced academic skills to component designs. Additionally, students explore career opportunities in engineering, technology, and drafting and what is required to gain and maintain employment in these areas. **


* Currently Approved Innovative Courses- Foundation and Enrichment

** Chapter 130 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career and Technical Education

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