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Making a Difference in the World: Engineering in Middle School Math and Science Classrooms

Presenters: Amy Wendt and Amy Schiebel
STEM careers are a means to making a difference in the world. This is the message to middle school students in a new set of curriculum modules inspired by the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering. During this session, presenters give examples of modules that, through a realistic fictional scenario, emphasize engineering solutions to a distinct societal need. Intended for math and science classrooms, students participate through role play as engineers, experiencing the engineering design process while learning underlying math and science concepts.

Amy Wendt, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Amy Wendt is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research focus is ionized gas discharges for a growing array of technological applications. Understanding the behavior of plasmas, how they interact with materials substrates, and implications for process and system design are the primary goals of her research. She is principal investigator of the project, Society’s Grand Challenges for Engineering as a Context for Middle School STEM Instruction, an NSF-supported research effort to examine a strategy for increasing the representation of women and other underrepresented groups in college-level STEM programs. She is also the co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wendt received her PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley, and her BS in Engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Amy Schiebel, Associate Professor in the Natural Sciences, Science Outreach Director, and K–16 Science Director, Edgewood College
Amy Schiebel’s work focuses on increasing the quality of science instruction from kindergarten through college in formal and informal settings. She directs programs that create collaborations for teaching and learning science. She has worked as a curriculum design consultant for the Lawrence Hall of Science, Lab-Aids, and the Iowa City and Madison Metropolitan School Districts. Recently she has been working on a project designed to increase the accessibility of science to groups that are currently underrepresented in STEM fields. The ROSE (Resources and Opportunities in Science) Project provides programming for parents and children in the target groups. Schiebel teaches in the Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics Departments; the School of Education; the School of Integrative Studies; and the Graduate and Professional School at Edgewood College. She runs numerous inservice workshops and sessions on effective science teaching strategies. Her most recent work is centered on the appropriate implementation of the new Next Generation Science Standards, with a special focus on the inclusion of engineering. She has created engineering-centered inservice programs for the Madison Metropolitan School District and private schools in the Madison area. Schiebel holds an MAT and PhD in Science Education from the University of Iowa and a BS and MS in Geology. Prior to joining the faculty at Edgewood College, she taught science in public schools for 10 years.