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Engineering for All - EfA is Funded by the National Science Foundation DRL Grant #1316601
Food Unit: Hydroponics systems designed by EfA students

EfA Project Abstract

The Engineering for All Project creates, tests and revises two-six week prototypical modules for middle school technology education classes, using the unifying themes and important social contexts of food and water. The modules employ engineering design as the core pedagogy and integrate content and practices from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Standards for Technological Literacy (STL). Embedded assessments are developed and tested to make student learning visible to both teachers and students. Professional development for a limited group of teachers is used to increase their knowledge of engineering design and to test instruments being developed to measure  teacher design pedagogical content knowledge.

The project leadership is experienced at creating materials for engineering and technology and in providing professional development for teachers. The assessments and instruments are created by educational researchers. The advisory board includes engineers, science and engineering educators, and educational researchers to guide the development of the modules, the assessments and the instruments. An external evaluator reviews the protocols and their implementation.

This project has the potential to provide exemplary materials and assessments for engineering/technology education that address standards, change teacher practice, and increase the capacity of the engineering/technology education community to do research.

To access the completed EfA curriculum, contact Dr. Anita Deck, International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA) at adeck@iteea.org.

The major Project drivers are:

  • Promoting the Potential of Engineering as a Social Good.

  • Revisiting Overarching Engineering and Technology Themes in Context  (i.e., Design, Modeling, Systems, Resources, Human Values).

  • Using Design-based Engineering Activities as Authentic Contexts for Teaching And Learning STEM Ideas and Practices.

  • Using Informed Design as the Core Pedagogical Methodology

EfA Mission and Goals

The mission of Engineering for All is to develop and research a high-quality innovative program model that offers all students opportunities to engage in relevant STEM learning. The goals of the Project are to:
  1. Build Awareness of how engineering can address global and community-based issues and concerns
  2. Promote understanding of key ETE ideas/unifying themes (Design, Modeling, Systems, Resources, Human Values) by engaging students in integrative, socially conscious engineering design activities.
  3. Increase teachers’ and students’ interest in furthering their STEM learning and augmenting their knowledge about and positive attitudes toward engineers, engineering, and related careers.
  4. Empower teachers and schools to complement science and math instruction with effective teaching in engineering and technology so that all students can achieve STEM literacy.
  5. Conduct research that will contribute generalizable knowledge about ETE teaching and learning.

To reach these goals, Engineering for All will:

  • Develop, classroom test, and revise two six-week curriculum modules (one in a Food context, one in a Water context).
  • Develop a validated tool for assessing teachers’ growth in design pedagogical content knowledge (d-PCK).
  • Evaluate EfA’s effectiveness in engaging student interest, catalyzing learning, teaching important STEM ideas, and promoting interest in further STEM study


David Burghardt is distinguished professor of engineering at Hofstra and co-director of its CSR. He also teaches education courses, is the author of 10 textbooks, and has led ten NSF projects. He served as a member of the NAE committee that led to the publication of the 2009 Engineering in K-12 Education report [85]. He will assist with budget and liaise with ASEE and NAE.

 Barry Burke, co-PI, directs an 18-state ITEEA STEM consortium developing standards-based Engineering by Design™ (EbD) curriculum. He served as president of the ITEA board of directors and as a member of the Standards for Technological Literacy writing team. He was a curriculum coordinator for 30 content areas in Montgomery County, MD. He will serve as the liaison to the ETE community and will be the lead person charged with dissemination of final materials through the ITEEA STEM consortium once they are finalized. Burke will lead the team developing the Water module.

 David Crismond will coordinate the EfA research program along with engineering graduate assistants. He is a professor of science and engineering education at CCNY and a former public school teacher. He developed engineering design-based multimedia materials at MIT and created design-oriented science curricula at TERC and Georgia Tech. His main research interests relate to PreK-12 design cognition and pedagogy and teacher professional development in science and pre-engineering.

 Christine Cunningham, co-PI, is founder and director of the NSF-funded Engineering is Elementary program and a Vice President at the Boston Museum of Science where she oversees curriculum development, PD, and research and evaluation. Her projects focus on making STEM programs relevant, understandable, and accessible to everyone, especially marginalized populations. She will serve as a member of the EfA Conceptual Design Team.

 Anthony Gordon, PC, has been an educational administrator and project manager for over 30 years and has served on four NSF projects. He was the IT coordinator for Saginaw (MI) schools and is now director for innovation at the Hofstra CSR. As design and technology director in Staffordshire, England, he developed exemplary, commercially published ETE materials. He will be responsible for day-to-day operations

 Michael Hacker, PI, co-directs the Hofstra CSR. He has 50 years of experience in engineering and technology education. As the former NYS supervisor for Technology Education, he managed development of MST standards; Introduction to Technology curriculum for the mandated MS instruction; and Principles of Engineering HS program. He has led 11 NSF projects, authored five textbooks, edited three professional compendia, and was a writing team member for the Standards for Technological Literacy. He was a TE teacher and department chair for 20 years. He will liaise with all partners and NSF, manage field testing

 Deborah Hecht is the lead Project external evaluator. She has been Senior Evaluator at the Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE) at the CUNY Graduate Center for over 20 years. Her expertise relates to MS education, STEM education, applied learning, and student and teacher assessment. She has served as lead evaluator on six NSF projects conducted by the Hofstra CSR and has evaluated numerous other large-scale projects (DOE, Gates, etc.) focused on educational reform, teacher development, and student learning.

 Caterina La Fata is a Research Associate at CASE and a Ph.D. candidate. She will assist in all aspects of the external evaluation.

Michal Lomask served as the science education and assessment coordinator at the CTDOE for 20 years. She directed the development of the state science framework acclaimed for its integration of relevant technological and social issues and its curriculum-embedded performance tasks. She will provide leadership to the development of EfA embedded assessments

 Elizabeth Parry, co-PI, is immediate past chairperson of the ASEE K-12 division and coordinates K-16 partnerships at NCSU’s College of Engineering. In her many years in STEM education, she has worked with undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, parents, and industry/community partners. Previously, she was a mechanical engineer at IBM for 10 years. She is the author of over 30 papers on PreK-12 STEM and will serve as a member of the EfA Conceptual Design Team.

 Cary Sneider, co-PI, is associate professor at Portland State University (OR). He is a member of the Next Generation Science Standards writing team and the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as “The Nation’s Report Card.” He formerly was Vice President for education at the Boston Museum of Science (where he developed a HS engineering curriculum) and was director of astronomy and physics education at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Cary will ensure optimal linkage to NGSS (as he was on the NGSS development team) and will serve as the Project’s liaison to the science education community. He will lead the team developing the Food module.

 Teacher-writers Sandy Cavanaugh (TechEd) and Mariel Milano (Science) would, under the direction of the co-team leaders, draft the KSBs so that they address identified learning objectives and set the stage for knowledgeable work on the design challenge that they will collaboratively develop.

 Three pilot test teachers (James Ng, Nick Cimorelli, and John Storella-Mullin who are experienced and expert technology teachers) will assist the development team by pilot testing the materials and suggesting revisions.

Advisory Board

The EfA Advisory Board would provide external review of materials from their various expert perspectives. The board includes S, T, E, M disciplinary experts, a middle school principal, a National School Boards Association representative, the NAE educational liaison, a cognitive scientist, and a psychometrician.

Advisory Board members are:

Joan Brandvold Schmidt, Past President, National School Boards Association

Julia Ross, Professor and Chair, Bio and Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland

Thomas Liao, Professor Emeritus, SUNY at SB, Science/STEM Education

David Ferguson, Mathematics, Professor at SUNY SB

George Giberti, Middle School Principal

Greg Pearson, National Academy of Engineering

Richard Lehrer, Learning Scientist, Vanderbilt University

Howard Everson, Psychometrician, Director, Center for Advanced Study, CUNY Graduate Ctr.

Performance Assessment System


1. Here is a paper written by Hofstra CSR Co-Directors Burghardt and Hacker on the Informed Design process:

Informed Design:A Comtemporary Approach to Design Pedagogy As the Core Process in Technology

2. Dr. David Crismond is the EfA Research Lead. In his prior Project, Design in the Classroom, he developed several videos that align well with the EfA focus on Design. Links to explanations about these videos and the videos themselves are shown below:




Food Unit: Hydroponics systems designed by EfA students