June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
This work in progress paper describes the organization and execution of a summer outreach workshop designed to increase the interest and motivation of middle school students to go into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, specifically engineering. This workshop is part of a seven year $32.8 million grant funded by the Department of Education as part of the GEAR UP program. The grant’s overall goal is to help more than 3,000 middle and high school students understand higher education over the period of seven years. This summer program targets 6 to 12th grade underrepresented students and science teachers. The workshop discussed here is one component of the GEAR UP grant.
The workshop included hands-on field-based engineering experiences, competitive design projects and fieldwork focusing on water and environmental engineering as well as discussions of various career options in those fields. The students and teachers spent a week preforming real engineering research investigation in collaboration with engineering research faculty from a local university to study the interaction of urban and natural areas and their effect on water quality in a local water shed. The camp culminated in research posters and slide (PowerPoint) presentations where teams of students led by one science teacher each described what they did in the week-long workshop. The teams discussed an engineering research hypothesis and a simple experiment to follow to verify that hypothesis helping them think like engineers. The workshop also included a professional development component for the teachers participating in the workshop where they developed classroom lessons to meet the new science standards (SEEd standards) as well as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) framework to be implemented in the following school year.
Results showed a very high overall satisfaction with the camp activities by the students. The survey results also show the success of the workshop and clearly points towards student appreciation of learning using hands-on experiences rather than being passive learners. This aligns with the constructivist theories on education where student-centered learning is shown to be more effective. The teachers were also satisfied with the experience and with learning the new standards they will be using in the next school year. This workshop was the first of many similar summer workshops to take place over the seven years of the project.
Mahmoud, M. M., & Becker, K. H., & Longhurst, M. L. (2017, June), Board # 102 :Hands-on Summer Workshop to Attract Middle School Students to Engineering (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27671
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