Orange County Schools

Central Elementary School

Engineering Matters

Orange County Schools, located in Hillsborough, NC, offers Engineering Matters in the summer to provide underrepresented students -- namely minorities, females and students from low socioeconomic situations -- opportunities to participate in STEM-related learning opportunities, increase their competencies in science and math and attract them to STEM careers. Engineering Matters is a free program that includes a three-week STEM summer camp and six after-school sessions during the school year. In the first year of the program, targeted rising fourth and fifth graders from the three Title 1 elementary schools in the district are invited to join the first cohort of students for participation in the program. As the program progresses to the second and third years, new cohorts are created and students who began in 2017 will transition into middle school and remain in the program.
Throughout the program, students use the scientific process and engineering design process to engage in project-based STEM activities and lessons to solve problems that are relevant to their own lives and the world around them, while simultaneously linking to curriculum. As a supplement, students go on field trips to scientific companies and organizations related to the lessons and interact with professionals in the science field who are linked with the topics of study. The structure of each activity is designed to build excitement and enthusiasm for science, increase competencies in these areas and help students translate these experiences into future career paths.


Erin Denniston
Curriculum Coach
Orange County Schools