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A Hands-On, Arduino-Based Approach to Develop Student Engineering Skills and Introduce Cybersecurity Concepts to K-12 Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre- College Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.54.1 - 26.54.6



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Paper Authors


Robert Shultz Drexel University Orcid 16x16

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Robert Shultz is a third-year Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student and a GK-12 fellow at Drexel University.

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Daniel Edward Ueda GRASP Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania

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Daniel Ueda is the Associate Director for Education and Outreach at the GRASP Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. in Teaching Mathematics from Pace University. Ueda has worked as a product design engineer for four years and as a teacher of math, physics, and engineering for 11 years. He was involved with the NSF GK-12 program at Drexel University for four years. Ueda has been awarded Delaware Valley Science Teacher of the Year (2013), Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award (2013), and Philadelphia Geek of the Year (2013).

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Jessica S Ward Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.)

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Jessica S Ward has more than nine years of Engineering Education experience and is currently the Director of Operations for the DragonsTeach program supported by the National Math and Science Initiative and UTeach Institute, and serves as the National Science Foundation STEM GK-12 Program Manager at Drexel University.

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Adam K Fontecchio Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.)

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A Hands-On Approach to Develop Student Engineering Skills and Introduce Cybersecurity Concepts to K-12 StudentsWithout a doubt, today’s generation is one driven by computer-based technologies. Thevast majority of students uses computers and mobile devices on a daily basis andregularly posts on social media sites. As computer-related fields continue to grow, afuture job market rich in technology-based careers seems inevitable. At the same time, aspersonal and sensitive data is increasingly stored online, the task of protecting thisinformation represents another already-flourishing career field certain to grow in thecoming years. While many students can efficiently operate computers and mobile devices,most of these same students view computers as a sort of “black box” system, with littleunderstanding of the inner workings of a computer. Consequently, students frequentlytake for granted the security of the information they store or post online. To encouragestudents to pursue engineering-type career paths well represented in the job market, thispaper will discuss a set of lessons developed for high school students to introduce basiccomputer science principles, as well as the concept of cybersecurity.Our NSF-funded program pairs University graduate students with area high schoolteachers in an effort to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the STEM(Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering) fields. To accomplish this, curriculum isdeveloped by the teacher and graduate student, and based around the 14 EngineeringGrand Challenges set forth by the National Academy of Engineering. Through eachlesson, students are introduced to real-life applications of the skills they are learning inthe classroom and given an opportunity to practice those skills in a real-life setting.This study was conducted at a local high school, with 12th grade students in the secondyear of a 2-year Design Technology course. Throughout the course of the year, studentsparticipate in a series of hands-on activities relating to computer technologies andcybersecurity, including case studies, small group projects, and class discussions.Students conduct surveys of their peers and construct infographic displays illustratingcybersecurity-related data, such as average password length. At the same time, studentsbegin building basic circuits, and using Arduino microcontrollers accomplish simpletasks, such as causing a single LED light to blink at a defined rate. The year culminatesin the design and creation of Arduino-based biomimetic devices for user identification,where students apply their new computer programming and circuitry skills to buildfingerprint scanner devices. Student learning, as well as any changes in projected careerpaths, is assessed by pre- and post-surveys. The authors anticipate that the collected datawill show an increased student interest in pursuing STEM careers, as well as knowledgeregarding project-related material. If successful, this project could be applied in publichigh schools to teach students about computer programming and circuitry, and toencourage students to consider STEM and cybersecurity-related career paths.

Shultz, R., & Ueda, D. E., & Ward, J. S., & Fontecchio, A. K. (2015, June), A Hands-On, Arduino-Based Approach to Develop Student Engineering Skills and Introduce Cybersecurity Concepts to K-12 Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23395

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015