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Connecting Students' Background Experiences to Engineering Design

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Technology and Engineering Teacher Volume 76, Number 1, ISSN 2158-0502


Many youth do not pursue engineering because they do not see how it connects to their lives and interests. Concerned about this problem, the National Research Council (2012) suggested ways that teachers can make engineering more relevant and accessible to youth who have not traditionally pursued careers in this field. According to the National Research Council, children develop their own ideas about how the world works based on their personal experiences, and "by listening to and taking these ideas seriously, educators can build on what children already know and can do" (pp. 24-25). One way that technology teachers can connect students' interests and experiences to engineering is through drawing from their funds of knowledge. Funds of knowledge include knowledge, skills, and practices that students develop through interactions with family members, neighbors, and peers (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & González, 1992). Doing chores around the house, visiting relatives in other countries, or holding jobs all provide students with useful knowledge and skills. Technology and engineering (TE) teachers who take advantage of these extracurricular funds of knowledge will find that their students already have valuable experiences that are relevant to the curricula they teach.


Sias, C., Wilson- Lopez, A. & Mejia, J. (2016). Connecting Students' Background Experiences to Engineering Design. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 76(1), 30-35. Retrieved July 2, 2020 from .

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