Asee peer logo

Board # 102 :Hands-on Summer Workshop to Attract Middle School Students to Engineering (Work in Progress)

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Murad Musa Mahmoud Utah State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Murad is a PhD student in the Engineering Education department at Utah State University. My major advisor is Prof. Kurt Becker. I have a bachelor's and master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Jordan. I have about five years of experience in teaching, most of which is with computer-aided drafting (CAD). My research interests include; STEM recruitment, professional development and CAD.

visit author page


Kurt Henry Becker Utah State University

visit author page

Kurt Becker is the current director for the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) which examines innovative and effective engineering education practices as well as classroom technologies that advance learning and teaching in engineering. He is also working on National Science Foundation (NSF) funded projects exploring engineering design thinking. His areas of research include engineering design thinking, adult learning cognition, engineering education professional development and technical training. He has extensive international experience working on technical training and engineering educaton projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Labor, USAID. Countries where he has worked include Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. In addition, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University.

visit author page


Max L. Longhurst Utah State University

visit author page

Dr. Longhurst is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University. His research focuses on the appropriation of professional learning in science education. He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and instruction from Utah State University (2015), a Masters Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Arizona State University (1995), a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University(1993). Dr. Longhurst has directed local and large scale professional development programs providing instructional learning experiences involving over 4,000 elementary teachers annually.  Currently he coordinates the Elementary STEM Endorsement program at Utah State University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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. 10.18260/1-2--27671

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015