Integrating Science With Engineering and Tech in the Classroom

Our modern society depends on finding or recycling resources, and this very often involves using engineering and technology. But very few high school students have a chance to explore how the science they study can intersect with these fields.

A key Next Generation Science Standards* strategy involves integrating science with engineering and technology practices. This approach helps students understand the interdependence of these areas. If students don't learn about the connections during their K-12 years, it may be very difficult for them to understand the value later on and develop important career skills.

Engineering Design in the Earth and Space Science Curriculum

The NGSS focuses on human impacts on the environment and locating natural resources. Understanding the connections between science, engineering, and technology are important to monitoring our planets and studying what's happening in other parts of our solar system. 

Role of the Teacher

Teachers need to enhance their own understanding of how science, engineering, and technology are united in order to help their students see the interconnections. The NGSS emphasizes major global problems in its curriculum, but it's also important to encourage students to look at problems in their local environment. They may be able to solve specific problems related to natural hazards, pollution, and other topics.

Students need to be able to identify the problem, find ways of breaking the problem down, and determine appropriate technologies and engineering techniques that will help them resolve these issues. They can then even contribute to their own communities. Helping students clearly define the criteria and the constraints that they're going to face in resolving a problem will allow them to develop synergistic ways to intermix science, engineering, and technology.

Impact of Science, Engineering, and Technology

The influence of these three fields can have major impacts on society. New technologies can greatly influence what kind of world our students will be living in. And by understanding how engineering and technology apply to science, they can make some contributions to that future world. 

Above are two igneous rocks. Both are very common igneous rocks found in many parts of the world. Engineers and earth scientists are working together to change igneous rocks in ways that will have an impact on our climate. One is a sample of an igneous rock that is chock-full of carbonated minerals. 

In Iceland, engineers and scientists are working together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pump the gas deep into the Earth's surface. Under the pressure, the carbon dioxide will react with minerals in the igneous rock and become new carbonated minerals, which are now trapped in the rock. This is one way it may be possible to have some impact on climate change in the future and is an excellent example of how science, engineering, and technology can work together to solve major problems. 

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This blog is based on a Professional Development video found within HMH Science Dimensions, which can help you and your students learn to integrate engineering, technology, and science to make exciting new discoveries that may impact the future.

*Next Generation Science Standards and logo are registered trademarks of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and they do not endorse it.