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Engineering is Everywhere: Learning and Solving Problems with Design Process Models for Upper Elementary and Middle School Practitioners

Ongoing | Ages Adult | $65/person On-campus; $75/person School-based


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The Engineering is Everywhere Teacher Professional Development Workshop blends science and engineering practices with hands-on inquiry, cutting-edge technology and 21st century materials. Grounded in Colorado Content Standards for the 4th-8th grade and the Next Generation Science Standards, this workshop uses the engineering design process as an integrating theme for STEM learning in earth, life and physical science in three engaging modules:

Photo-Origami: Energy, Design and Change
Inspired by the Photo Origami project at CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, this module uses design opportunities to help learners develop understandings of electromagnetic energy, change in physical systems, and the relationships between scientific and engineering inquiry practices. Using these practices, teams will explore the nature of photo-active polymers and conduct a series of experiments to discover how and why they work. Using this new knowledge and their visual/spatial skills, learners will design, build, test and refine a model of light-activated, self-assembling structures.

Bioengineering and Biodesign
Many of today’s most pressing problems require engineers who have a solid foundation in life sciences and the engineering process. This module immerses participants in two projects that address design challenges and solutions to biomedical and environmental issues. Learners will design custom bacteria while exploring genetic engineering and the relationships between organisms, their environments and bioremediation. Teams will design solutions to a common biomedical problem while learning about human body systems, biomedical research at CU and the application of nanotechnology.

21st Century Materials
Can you paint a circuit on your desk? Can you print a prototype or new toy? Designed to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and STEM professionals, this station-based module provides learners with the opportunity to explore the materials of the future in a fun and hands-on way! Learners will experiment with conductive paints, fabrics, materials and circuits; play with shape-memory polymers and thermoplastics; design and build mechanical systems with memory metal alloys; and see 3D printing in action.


  • $65/person On-campus; $75/person School-based: A full day of professional development, lesson plans and facilitation guide, digital resources and a letter and certificate documenting 7.5 hours of teacher professional development for district and CDE teacher licensing


  • Pre-register online here or by calling 303-492-8640
  • Arrive at Science Learning Laboratory, Room 101 (3400 Marine St, Boulder, 80309) at 8:45am, break for lunch between 12-12:30pm, depart at 5:00pm
  • Participants may bring their own lunch or visit one of many nearby eateries during their break

For additional information or to begin planning your CU Science Discovery program, please contact Hester Nadel via email or by calling 303.492.8640.