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A Collaborative “How To”: Making Engineering Interesting To Students In Middle And High School

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Our Future in Manufacturing: STEM Outreach

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.10.1 - 14.10.22



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Paper Authors


Terence Fagan Central Piedmont Community College

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Dr. Fagan earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UNC Charlotte and is a CPCC
2008-2009 College Fellows recipient, receiving funding to conduct LCA case studies on
sustainable livable habitat; create a sustainable manufacturing module; and publish and present his findings. Dr. Fagan team-taught an interdisciplinary (civil and mechanical engineering and architecture students) sustainable design studio course at UNC Charlotte in 2008. Dr. Fagan currently serves on a Habitat for Humanity committee dedicated to “greening” their products and processes. In addition, he serves on the Greater Charlotte Region BioFuels Center conducting Life Cycle Assessments on BioFuel production.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Interesting to Middle and High School Students


The U.S. has seen a recent shortage of engineers and the outlook of those interested in the field looks bleak. The shortage is due in part to the baby-boomer generation of manufacturing and engineering workers retiring. However, the stigma surrounding manufacturing and engineering as not be ignored. Now is the time for those in industry and academia to find opportunities that change this stigma and offer a more positive outlook on the engineering industry. This paper addresses a service learning project that involved first year Mechanical Engineering Technology and second year Graphic Design students collaboratively How To Some of the projects incl How to Modify an Xbox 360 How To Build a Car Stereo, hands. The novelty of the delivery systems, coupled with more age-appropriate and interesting projects, introduce middle and high school students to the exciting world of engineering.


Engineering and technical fields are growing due to the baby boomer generation retiring and an increased demand for technicians, scientist, and engineers. he number of U.S. jobs requiring science and engineering training is expected to grow for the foreseeable future. Some observers say that not enough new engineers are graduating from U.S. schools to fill the positions that will 9 To combat this need, engineering education needs to be infused not only in higher academia but at the K-12 curriculum.

Recent attempts have been made to introduce engineering principles into the K-12 curriculum. This is mainly due to society needing engineers for economic progress and is coupled with a lack of interest in pathways for engineering education. It is up to the K-12 engineering educator to focus the skill sets needed to succeed in this arena using help from higher academic institutions. These educators need to familiarize themselves with a variety of pedagogical practices, including technology education1 and being open to creative solutions7.

K-12 engineering education plays a large part in educating the future generations of engineers. Many organizations and higher academic institutions have developed or are developing curriculum to combat the loss of engineering emphasis in K-12 educational systems. Studies continue to be conducted that examine not only the mission and goals of engineering, but the use of engineering principles2 in the classroom. In addition, states, noticing the decline of students in the engineering field, are beginning to address the concern for K-12 engineering education. One particular example of this undertaking includes efforts in curriculum development and professional development for teachers as a reward for introducing engineering to K-12 students. The Institute of Technology focuses their efforts on "Core

Fagan, T. (2009, June), A Collaborative “How To”: Making Engineering Interesting To Students In Middle And High School Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5109

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