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STEM Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) Capstone


Engineering Projects in Community Service, EPICS, is an engineering design course that operates in a service learning context. EPICS students earn credit for their participation on design teams that solve technology-based problems for not-for-profit organizations in the local community. The teams are multidisciplinary, drawing students from all areas of the school.
Curriculum Link: Author: The STEM Academy

Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives

Students will demonstrate an understanding of:

  • The characteristics, scope, and core concepts of technology, the relationships among technologies and its connection to other fields of study, the cultural, social, economic, and political effects of technology and its impact on the environment, the role of society in developing and using technology, and the influence of technology on history.
  • The attributes of design, engineering design, and the role of troubleshooting, research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation in problem solving.

Students will be able to:

  • Apply the design process, use and maintain technological products and systems, and assess the impact of products and systems.
  • Select and use medical technologies, agricultural and related biotechnologies, energy and power technologies, information and communication technologies, transportation technologies, manufacturing technologies and construction technologies.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of:

  • Culture and cultural context, communication techniques in a team, the design method for service learning, engineering in a societal context, and knowledge of project management.

Description of Activities

Working in an interdisciplinary student team, students will analyze the cultural context of a particular project and develop a profile of the community the project operates within. Then students will assess team skills, and develop an outline and a design for the service learning project including an assessment plan, a project charter, tasks and milestones, a PERT chart, a GANTT chart, and a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.

The EPICS team will brainstorm innovative ideas, define measureable specifications for implementation strategies, design testing procedures and a second iteration of the project solution using the EPICS process, identify the project solution and specifications, document its conceptual design, participate in a functional decomposition of the proposed project solution, create a detailed design for the proposed solution, determine method of delivery and service or maintenance, as well as a timeline for decommission of the project, identify final project specifications, and create a decision matrix for the project.

Culminating Activity and/or Assessment

Students will present the final project design and project charter

Instructional Materials Needed

Teacher access to the internet assures access to all course materials and the Learning Management System. Much of the content is facilitated if students have access to web-enabled devices

Instructional Materials Provided

Objectives, teacher preparation, content outlines, learning activities, select equipment, recommended local consumables, case studies, resources, PowerPoints, and online assessments

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Additional criteria

Cost: Unlimited access per site for curriculum use. Project resources provided per class size. Contact STEM101 for cost estimate.

Curriculum type: Course

Academic subject area: Career-Technical Education

States' Career Clusters: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

California Industry sector(s): Engineering and Architecture

Duration: 180 course hours

Grade Target: 12

Level of Expertise for CTE: Capstone/Advanced

Targeted Support Materials: Administrator support, Community Involvement, Industry Involvement

Standards Addressed: Detailed documentation of alignment with Common Core, NGSS, C3 or CTE Standards provided

Professional Development Requirements/Recommendations: LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TRAINING REQUIRED Other training available, including 4-day orientation training for instructors, career counselors and administrators. Summer 4-day Stem Instructor Training Boot Camp available for lead instructors. Online STEM Instructor Mentor Program also available.

Source: Organization/Publisher-developed

Organization/Publisher: STEM Academy

Usage Restrictions: Must contract with STEM Academy in order to use curriculum.

Curriculum Link:

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