Where is the “E” in STEM For Young Children? Engineering Design Education in an Elementary Teacher Preparation Program

  • Daniell DiFrancesca North Carolina State University
  • Carrie W Lee North Carolina State University
  • Ellen McIntyre North Carolina State University


The purpose of this paper is to describe how one STEM focused elementary teacher preparation program incorporates engineering, an often neglected component of STEM education, in an appropriate, meaningful, and substantial way. Teacher candidates participate in a semester long engineering design methods course that is closely tied to the math and science methods courses. This program reinforces the importance, relevance and appropriateness of the engineering design process for elementary students through explicit integration and modeling within the teacher preparation courses and field placement work. Participation in this program encourages our graduates to value the engineering design process and work to implement it into their classrooms, as reflected by end of year interviews with current and former students of the program.

Author Biographies

Daniell DiFrancesca, North Carolina State University
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Psychology Ph. D. Candidate
Carrie W Lee, North Carolina State University
Department of Curriculum and Instruction Ph. D. Candidate
Ellen McIntyre, North Carolina State University
College of Education Associate Dean, Academic Affairs