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A Template For A Manufacturing Outreach Unit For Middle Schools

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Manufacturing Education and Outreach

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.122.1 - 7.122.10



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Paper Authors

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Terry Ballinger

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Craig Somerton

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

Main Menu Session 1463

A Template for a Manufacturing Outreach Unit for Middle Schools

Craig W. Somerton, Terry Ballinger Michigan State University/Lansing Catholic High School

Abstract A template for an outreach activity to middle school students on manufacturing engineering is presented. The template includes three components: a filed trip to a manufacturing facility, an in class-presentation on the fundamentals of manufacturing, and a hands-on activity in manufacturing. A structure for the outreach program is proposed.

Introduction Over the past three summers the authors have taught an introduction to mechanical engineering class to gifted middle school students as part of the two week Mathematics, Science, and Technology Program at Michigan State University. Two of the ten class periods have focused on manufacturing engineering. As this unit has evolved over the three summers, it has developed to the point that it could be used as a template for a college outreach program on manufacturing engineering for middle schools. Certainly the value of such engineering outreach programs is obvious based on the predicted future shortages of engineers, and the need to attract more and diverse people into engineering. It has been recognized that middle school outreach can be very effective in the recruitment of the next generation of engineers. This paper provides the template for such an activity.

There are three components to this manufacturing outreach template. Each component can be implemented in a once a week, one or two hour experience for a middle school science or technology class. Thus the program could serve as a three week unit in manufacturing for the class. The first component involves a tour of a local manufacturing facility. It is the authors' experience that manufacturing occurs in nearly all communities across the country and that most companies welcome the opportunity to show off their facilities to the public, and especially to school children. The second component involves a class presentation on the basics of manufacturing. Such topics as material processing, forming, fastening, finishing, and assembly lines are covered. Because the students will have seen several of these activities on their tour of the manufacturing facility, there will probably be considerable class participation during this presentation. Following this presentation, a hands on activity is carried out that includes the design and implementation of an assembly line for the simplified manufacturing of a bean bag animal toy. By doing this activity in teams, a friendly competition can be held to see which team designed the fastest assembly line. The activity concludes with a wrap-up in which the students evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the assembly line designs. Details of these three components are provided in this paper, along with results of this activity with the Mathematics, Science, and Technology program. We continue this paper by suggesting some mechanisms for

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Ballinger, T., & Somerton, C. (2002, June), A Template For A Manufacturing Outreach Unit For Middle Schools Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11285

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