Bridges to Engineering Science: Teaching Teachers

President George W. Bush has begun a National Science Foundation initiative called Bridges to Engineering Education to increase the number of students entering engineering fields. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has received a $100,000 planning grant to design a coordinated, comprehensive program to increase the number of students entering engineering fields in targeted Tennessee/Georgia areas. By working with educators of K-12 students to build interest in these areas, school systems in counties surrounding Hamilton County will be among the first to participate. Bridges to Engineering Science: Teaching Teachers (B.E.S.T.T.), has as its goals:

  • To work with K-12 teachers, pre-service teachers in the College of Education, education faculty, College of Engineering faculty and students and the UTC Challenger Center to develop high quality, self contained, apparatus-based engineering science experiments and curriculum units.
  • To have the proposed curriculum meet National, Tennessee and Georgia Science and Math Educational Standards.
  • To place special emphasis on targeting the inclusion of those currently under-represented in engineering.
  • To conduct assessment at all stages of the project. It is hoped that this initiative will facilitate building lasting connections and interactions between UTC and the local school systems.

No resources will be required of the school systems at any phase of the project. Funds from the National Science Foundation are included in the current planning phase, and funds will be included in the implementation grant proposal to the NSF that will include compensation to school systems to facilitate input. Funds will be requested to support systems' efforts in designing the educational units, to provide training for teachers and to provide the completed units to the local systems once teacher training has been completed. This no-cost participation will remain unchanged through the period of the grant.

UTC is asking for support in this curriculum development initiative from school system personnel willing to partner in creating a program that will allow a system principal investigator or lead teacher to participate in the development of curriculum ideas.

For more information, please call: Thomas L. Patty, Director of the UTC Challenger Center, (423) 425-4126.