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Clarkson University Engineers Win 2009 Premier Curriculum Award for K-12 Engineering

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AUSTIN, Texas - June 13, 2009 -Susan Powers, PhD, of Clarkson University today collected the winning prize - the inaugural Premier Curriculum Award for K-12 Engineering - for her original middle school curricular unit, "Energy Systems and Solutions."powers dewaters

Powers and Jan DeWaters, also of Clarkson University, are co-authors of a collection of eighth-grade lessons and activities that provide a comprehensive, practical, and engaging investigation into energy and how it is used - presented from a real-world, applied engineering point of view.

Sponsored by Engineering Pathway ( and the TeachEngineering digital library (, the competition is a biennial award recognizing the creation and implementation of outstanding K-12 engineering curriculum, a growing approach to teaching K-12 science and math fundamentals.

At the 6th Annual Workshop on K-12 Engineering Education of the 2009 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in Austin, Texas, Martha Cyr, PhD, of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass., representing Engineering Pathway and TeachEngineering, presented plaques and prizes to Powers in front of a luncheon audience of engineering educators.

Engineer Powers said, "We are very honored to receive this inaugural award. It helps to validate our approach to introducing engineering concepts into science classes through relevant issues and project based learning experiences. We are especially committed to increasing the energy literacy of our youth - who will have to tackle significant energy issues as either consumers or STEM professionals. The availability of our project based curriculum in the TeachEngineering digital library will help teachers from across the country to help youngsters increase their energy literacy and improve their ability to think like an engineer."

The co-recipients share a $1,000 award and receive recognition on the TeachEngineering and Engineering Pathway digital library websites. Powers also receives $1,500 toward registration, travel, and accommodations to attend the ASEE Conference in Austin.

Powers is associate dean for research and graduate studies, and professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Coulter School of Engineering, Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. She also is director of the Clarkson NSF GK-12 project. DeWaters is a PhD candidate in environmental science and engineering at the Coulter School.

The winning unit consists of eight lessons and 19 hands-on, project-based activities in which students explore energy production and consumption issues from everyday life, learning about our nation’s energy situation and basic energy and physics concepts. Through engaging activities and the engineering problem-solving approach, students apply what they’ve learned to a culminating real-life project that reduces fossil fuel use.

The winning curricular unit is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant nos. DUE-0428127 and DGE-0338216, from the NSF GK-12 and Distinguished Teaching Scholars programs.

In addition, two finalists were recognized: Terry Carter of the Vanderbilt University Research Experiences for Teachers (RET; VaNTH ERC) in Nashville, Tenn., for his seventh-grade Laser Light Properties: Protecting the Mummified Troll! unit, and Travis M. Doll of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa., for his eighth-grade Sound Booth Construction activity.

The winning and finalists’ curricula will be made freely available to teachers and educators through Engineering Pathway and the TeachEngineering digital library-online resource collections supported by the NSF National Science Digital Library (NSDL). The high-quality, classroom-tested TeachEngineering lessons engage students in science and math study with connections relevant to their lives and their futures.

Photo caption: Award-winning engineers Susan Powers (left) and Jan DeWaters (right) of Clarkson University.

Additional Information and Resources

The eighth-grade Energy Systems and Solutions curricula unit:

More information about the Premier Curriculum Award for K-12 Engineering available at

TeachEngineering ( ) is a searchable, web-based digital library collection populated with 750+ free, teacher-tested standards-based K-12 lessons and activities that engage students and enhance science and math learning through the use of hands-on engineering. TeachEngineering was primarily created through support from the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 Program and NSDL.

The Engineering Pathway ( ) is a portal to high-quality teaching and learning resources in applied science and math, engineering, computer science/information technology and engineering technology, for use by K-12 and university educators and students. Engineering Pathway is the engineering education "wing" of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) at

The National Science Digital Library (NDSL) ( ) is the nation’s online library for education and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The National Science Foundation (NSF) ( is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense"

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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