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  • Writer's pictureInnovateED

Making Design Challenges with S.T.E.M. Professionals

Updated: Oct 18, 2019


In this session, we will explore the creation of successful design challenges and how these challenges empower learners using critical thinking and the engineering design cycle. Design challenges reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of current and future Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (S.T.E.M) fields, which highlights the need for young learners to develop strong interpersonal and observational skills. We will focus on how we can create these knowledge connections and design challenges, which do not have to start with a science basis to facilitate S.T.E.M. learning. We will begin by discussing how the ADST curriculum enables learning the scientific method and engineering design cycle. Teachers will hear from S.T.E.M. professionals about how the curriculum has the potential to empower the students entering these fields. Next, the participants will ideate their own innovative design challenges related to their grade level and/or topic focus with the goal of running these challenges in the 2019/2020 school year. We will conclude with a reflection of the design process and discuss challenges and improvements to their design challenge.

PRESENTERS BIOS Jenna Hutchen, M.Sc is a biologist who completed a Bachelor in Evolutionary Biology from SFU and a Master in Biology from UBC’s Okanagan campus focused on mammal response to wildfires. She has published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and presented at international conferences.

Since 2017, she has been the Geering Up Outreach Coordinator. In this role, Jenna has lead a program that has provided over 4700 youth in the Okanagan with hands-on S.T.E.M. learning opportunities. Geering Up runs summer camps, in-school workshops, after-school programming, and teacher professional developments – all with a focus on design thinking.

Marie Reid, M.A.Sc is a mechanical engineer (EIT) who graduated from UBC’s Okanagan campus with a B.A.Sc in 2013. She then worked at USNR for 2.5 years designing forestry equipment before returning to UBC Okanagan to complete a Master of Applied Science in mechanical engineering focused on the development of a decision making system to estimate forest fire pilot fitness for duty.

Currently, she is the School of Engineering’s Engineering Outreach Advisor. In this role, Marie organizes outreach events based around hands-on design and critical thinking for middle and high school students and supports female & indigenous undergraduate students at the UBC Okanagan campus.


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