New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
In 2011, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report on advanced manufacturing identified biomanufacturing as one of the key pathways to revitalize the economy in the United States (US). While the field of biomanufacturing has seen significant research growth over the years, the fact remains that student interest in manufacturing-centered careers has been on the decline in the US. This trend has been primarily attributed to their view of manufacturing as a "dirty, dark, dangerous, and declining" field, which is a wrong perception of the advanced manufacturing sector in the US. In order to address this critical human resource shortage faced by the Nation, there is a need to design middle/high-school outreach activities that paint a more realistic picture of the US manufacturing sector. Biomanufacturing provides an ideal platform for such activities because of its combination of high-tech industrial processes and perceived societal impact.
In this paper, we report the design and implementation of a biomanufacturing outreach module for middle-school students that uses Lego-based desktop-factory concepts. This module leverages the power of Lego-based instructional techniques to convey the biomedical impact of the advanced manufacturing sector in the US. The module comprises of a suite of three Lego machines that replicate the subtractive manufacturing, additive manufacturing, and metrology processes seen in biomanufacturing applications. These Lego machines are combined into a single desktop factory , which is then used to expose the students to concepts such as 1) Personalized design to create biomedical products that meet the needs of each individual; 2) Smaller environmental footprint to reduce input resources and promote sustainable manufacturing; and 3) Continuous manufacturing concepts encountered in a production line.
The paper will present the details of a one class-period implementation of the module presented by undergraduate engineering students to two middle schools in the community. The module is expected to reach over 200 students with nearly half of them being female. The efficacy of the module will be measured using a pre-and post-module survey given to the students. The survey will use Likert-scale ratings and polar questions to gauge their change in attitude toward biomanufacturing. We will also report this data based on gender and age, to show the trends in the efficacy of the module based on student demographics. The paper will conclude with ideas for the deployment of such modules in the form of a curriculum that meets state educational standards.
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