New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
With the growing emphasis of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education at the PK-12 level, many schools are reaching out to colleges and universities to have engineering faculty and students visit their classrooms. However, engineering faculty and students may be reluctant to engage in this outreach because they do not have the time or resources to develop an appropriate activity. To address this issue “pick up and go” engineering activity outreach modules were developed, piloted and assessed in K-12 classrooms and afterschool programs. These activity modules were developed to incorporate research based best practices and principles that have been found to be successful in attracting girls to engineering and all activities were mapped to the Ohio Academic Content Standards. The modules focused on engineering design and innovation, such that the activities encouraged team work, creativity and problem solving. Scenarios were provided as part of the activities to demonstrate the social relevance of engineering. The kits contained all materials needed to facilitate the activities, a memory stick with an introductory power point presentation, complete instructions aimed at both the college student facilitator and a separate document for the K-12 teacher, evaluation forms and pre- and post- test forms. Through this project nine kits were developed. These kits were facilitated to over 700 K-12 students, primarily in grades 3 through 6. Facilitator feedback showed that the kits were easy to use and the instructions were both complete and easy to follow. The teachers felt that their students learned a great deal about engineering from these activities. The mean gain in pre- to post- test scores was found to be significantly greater than zero (p = 0.00007) for all students, however the main gain for the females was found to be higher for the female students than for the males students. These results show that the outreach activities were effective at increasing the K-12 students’ attitudes, interest and awareness towards STEM, but they were more effective for the females.
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