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Assessing the Efficacy of K-12 Engineering Outreach "Pick Up and Go" Kits

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Outreach in K12 through College Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Margaret Pinnell University of Dayton

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Dr. Margaret Pinnell is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Development in the school of engineering and associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Dayton. She teaches undergraduate and graduate materials related courses including Introduction to Materials, Materials Laboratory, Engineering Innovation, Biomaterials and Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (ETHOS). She was director of the (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-Learning) for approximately ten years. She has incorporated service-learning projects into her classes and laboratories since she started teaching in 2000. Her research interests include community engaged learning and pedagogy, K-12 outreach, biomaterials and materials testing and analysis.

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Elizabeth S Hart University of Dayton

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Beth Hart is a Lecturer for the University of Dayton School of Engineering Dean’s Office. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Dayton, both in Chemical Engineering. She currently teaches engineering design and oversees the Women Engineering Program, part of the Diversity in Engineering Center.

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Laura Kozuh Bistrek University of Dayton

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Laura Bistrek, P.E., is the Director of the Diversity in Engineering Center at the University of Dayton.

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Shaquille T. Tensley University of Dayton

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Senior Mechanical Engineering Major at the University of Dayton. From Indianapolis, IN.

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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.

Pinnell, M., & Hart, E. S., & Bistrek, L. K., & Tensley, S. T. (2016, June), Assessing the Efficacy of K-12 Engineering Outreach "Pick Up and Go" Kits Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26313

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