Boeing Research Grant Implements Science and Engineering Curriculum in Elementary Classrooms

WEBd_carrejoUTEP researchers are working to start students on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Congressman Silvestre and Carolina Reyes Elementary School.

David J. Carrejo, Ph. D., associate dean for undergraduate studies and educator preparation, and associate professor of math education, is leading his team on a one-year project that implements an environmental science and engineering (ESE) curriculum in the school’s 24 classrooms.

The elementary school, in the Canutillo School District, is LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. That means the school was built to be resource efficient, high performing, healthy and cost-effective, making it an ideal site to implement the curriculum.

“The overarching goal of the ongoing and proposed project is to broaden student and teacher participation in STEM by increasing awareness, interest and competency in ESE,” Carrejo said. “Research shows that children who are exposed to engineering and science at an early age are more likely to pursue baccalaureate degrees in those fields.”

Carrejo’s team will use the $27,000 awarded from Boeing to implement the ESE curriculum in each classroom; increase the number of students who demonstrate evidence of becoming environmental conservators; and evaluate the project to determine gains in teacher knowledge and student interest.

“We are very excited to work with Reyes Elementary and Canutillo ISD to engage students in STEM and conduct cutting-edge research in STEM education,” Carrejo said.

Researchers started their work in October 2016 and expect initial results by April 2017. The project will end in May and final results will be reported by the summer.