Engineering as a part of the precollege experience is relatively new. Although engineering clubs have existed for some time, engineering has not been a formal part of the classroom experience for every student. The promise that engineering has for engaging students in precollege is considerable when it is defined as systematic problem solving for global issues such as those defined by the US National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering, and not focused primarily on careers. Engineering as it applies to ALL students can be defined as understanding engineering design and problem solving, adopting engineering habits of mind and comprehending systems thinking.
In the state of North Carolina in the US, several secondary schools are using the NAE Grand Challenges as the basis for an integrated STEM curriculum. Using the Grand Challenges as a curriculum framework, teachers identify the Challenges that most closely align with the science course taught in a given year.