Bringing Engineers into STEM Teaching (BEST) Project

  • NSF Noyce Award # 1340000
  • First Name Suzanne
  • Last Name Chapin
  • Email
  • Discipline Math
  • Co-PI(s)

    Leslie Dietiker, Boston University,

  • Presenters

    Aaron Brakoniecki, Boston University,


Boston University’s Bringing Engineers into STEM Teaching (BEST) Project, awarded in Fall 2013, is focusing on bringing the mathematical, technological, and design expertise of engineers into secondary classrooms. This program is a collaboration of the School of Education and the College of Engineering at Boston University and six schools or districts in the Boston area. The BEST program provides an experience-rich and inquiry-based teacher preparation program that addresses the recommendations from the MET II Report, the CCSS-M and the Massachusetts Engineering Standards. It is responding to the critical demand for highly trained middle and high school mathematics teachers in high-need school districts in the state of Massachusetts. The project makes it possible for engineers to become educators by providing full scholarships to qualified students.


The BEST program is built around an established Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program. A unique feature of BU?s MAT program is the inclusion of courses that emphasize pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics. Students enroll in three courses that emphasize mathematical knowledge for teaching. Clinical experiences are provided along with coursework and workshops specifically designed to support reflective teaching focused on student reasoning. In order to help scholars prepare for teaching in high-need schools, they enroll in the courses, Equitable Pedagogies and Teaching English Language Learners in the Content Areas. Scholars attend workshops, seminars and mentoring that address engineering design standards and broad themes within mathematics teaching.


The BEST project collaborates with the STEM Educator-Engineer Program (STEEP) at Boston University to provide pathways for undergraduate engineering students to become teachers. We recruit practicing engineers and undergraduate mathematics majors. Scholars are connected to a robust and on-going mathematics community of students, teachers, engineers, mathematics educators, and mathematicians. They return to campus throughout the year for professional development. During seminars, they have learned to develop apps for iPhones, apply mathematics to the solution of engineering problems and discussed many aspects of teaching and learning such as the use of discovery-based lessons. Other professional development activities for scholars include summer workshops focused on engineering design, attendance at conferences, special meetings for first year teachers focused on classroom management, and activities during the MAT year specifically oriented toward working in high-need schools.


This project has highlighted the the ways in which engineering, and specifically the engineering design process, can be utilized and leveraged to connect with the mathematics practice standards. We were able to receive a no-cost extension for another year and will fund 5 additional scholars on this project and continue our Noyce Seminar Series. Lastly, we have collected tasks and student work from two years of our scholars that we plan to analyze so that we will have some evidence of the curricular tasks our students and graduates are using in their classrooms, as well as a sampling of their own students’ work on these tasks.

Broader Impacts

There have been 28 scholars in Cohorts I-V and almost all have been awarded a MAT degree and licensure in secondary mathematics. All of the scholars in Cohorts I, II, III, and IV who received their teaching license are either teaching mathematics in high-need districts, or seeking jobs in high-needs districts. Cohort V scholars just graduated in May 2018 and are currently looking for employment as mathematics teachers. We received a no-cost extension for our sixth year and have 5 Cohort VI scholars who will enter the MAT program in July 2017. Work related to this project has begun to be shared via conference presentations, including a presentation at the ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education) conference.


Posted on July 4, 2018