June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.270.1 - 12.270.11
Assessing Participant Engagement in a Middle School Outreach Program
Engineering A Future (EAF), an annual outreach program for girls in grades five through eight, has been held at Tennessee Technological University since 2003. The program is aimed at introducing these young women to careers in engineering. Sponsored by Tennessee Tech, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Association of University Women, the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium, Girl Scouts of Cumberland Valley, and local industry, participation has grown each year. In the day-long program, each group of eight to twelve middle-school girls rotates through four 45-minute, hands-on, engineering-focused activities. High school and college students serve as volunteer guides, leading their assigned group from one activity to the next.
In response to participant evaluations and adult volunteer suggestions, program changes have been made each year. Prior to 2006, there had been no formal attempt to recruit the help of high school students. However, with the first EAF participants reaching high school age, it was time to engage them in the day activities.
To provide a meaningful experience for the volunteer guides in EAF 2006, they were asked to serve as observers to study participant engagement. This paper provides an overview of the findings from the engagement study, including the impact of time of day on participant engagement, characteristics of activities with the highest engagement, correlation with end-of- day participant evaluations, and lessons learned.
Engineering A Future (EAF), a day-long outreach program for girls in grades five through eight, has been held annually at Tennessee Technological University since 2003. Sponsored by Tennessee Tech, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium, Girls Scouts of Cumberland Valley, and Cummins Filtration, participation has grown each year, from 73 girls in 2003 to approximately 250 in 2006. The program features an initial teambuilding activity followed by four 45-minute sessions, each providing a hands-on activity focused on a different engineering topic. Lunch and an engineering-related lunchtime activity are also part of the program. The girls are divided into groups of eight to twelve participants. Activity sessions are led by volunteers, who represent engineering faculty, SWE members, or engineers from local industry. Some activities are designed to accommodate fifth- and sixth-grade participants; others are designed for seventh- and eighth-graders. High school and college students, which include both engineering and education majors, serve as volunteer guides, leading their assigned group from one activity to the next. With College of Education faculty and AAUW members assisting in the registration process and numerous other miscellaneous tasks, this program incorporates a unique connection between local school educators, University students and faculty, and middle
Matson, J., & Craven, K., & Pardue, S., & Darvennes, C., & Wachs, A. (2007, June), Assessing Participant Engagement In A Middle School Outreach Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2978
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