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Board # 125 : MAKER: Smart Lighting Module for Teaching High School Science and Engineering Students about Programmable Logic Controllers

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Make It!

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William H. Heeter

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My name is Bill Heeter. I have been teaching pre-Engineering classes now for fifteen years. I have taught four different Project Lead the Way classes. Currently, I am certified to teach three PLTW curriculum's and I am a past “Master Teacher” for Engineering Design and Development, the capstone PLTW curriculum. I taught several non-PLTW classes including Manufacturing Engineering and AC/DC. I also taught a Petroleum Engineering curriculum. I graduated from Texas A&M in 1973 with a B.S. Degree in Industrial Engineering-Industrial Distribution. For most of my career I worked with Industrial Supply Houses engineering electrical systems, mechanical systems, fluid power systems, and conveyance systems. After that I spent seventeen years with Dow Chemical developing new products (R&D) for Dow customers. I just retired as the Department Chair for the Career and Technology Education Department at Porter High School. I was also the lead teacher for the Engineering House. Currently, I work part time for the Tomball I.S.D.

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Sheng-Jen Hsieh Texas A&M University

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Dr. Sheng-Jen (“Tony”) Hsieh is a Professor in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Engineering Technology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include engineering education, cognitive task analysis, automation, robotics and control, intelligent manufacturing system design, and micro/nano manufacturing. He is also the Director of the Rockwell Automation laboratory at Texas A&M University, a state-of-the-art facility for education and research in the areas of automation, control, and automated system integration.

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This project will describe the design, construction, and evaluation of an instructional module for 9th-12th grade science and engineering students on the use and programming of a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). The module consists of a combination of lectures and an activity. The lecture component covers the history of PLCs, how they work, how to use them to run industrial production equipment, and an introduction on how to program them for various job functions. The activity component includes creating a ladder logic program, uploading it to a PLC, and automating a sequence of steps to meet a desired goal. The module also includes an activity that allows students to apply what they learn to a practical engineering problem—saving energy in a home or small business. Results from embedded assessment, pre-assessment, and post assessments suggest students are very interested in the topic and in how it can be used to save energy in a home or small business

Heeter, W. H., & Hsieh, S. (2017, June), Board # 125 : MAKER: Smart Lighting Module for Teaching High School Science and Engineering Students about Programmable Logic Controllers Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27718

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