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Bringing A Short Hands On Engineering Activity Into High School Classrooms

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.125.1 - 3.125.5

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Paper Authors

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Julia L. Morse

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 0492

Bringing a Short Hands-On Engineering Activity Into High School Classrooms

Julia L. Morse, Assistant Professor University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Omaha Campus)


Hands-on, team-based engineering applications of science and math were designed which could be brought into a high school classroom, with the goal of transferring an excitement for creative engineering to young people. Development of one such activity considered the challenges of matching the activity to the level of mathematical and technical background of students, as well as fitting the topic to a broad scope of high school curriculum areas. This approach combined basic math and familiar subjects to allow students to discover how tools they already know are used in engineering problem-solving. Self-directed student groups worked through the hands-on portion of the project with the assistance of handout procedures and instructor assistance. Questions generated during and after groupwork served as a basis for a discussion matching the interests and knowledge level of students. This project was presented to the high school teachers’ workshop and then to a high school class of chemistry and math students. Experiential results and feedback from high school teachers provide a basis for evaluating this approach.


As part of a continuing effort to introduce high school students to the world of engineering, Omaha campus faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Engineering and Technology prepared a week-long series of workshops for high school teachers of math, science, and technology. The goal was to make engineering exciting to teachers and to give them working projects they could take back to their classrooms, transferring that excitement and interest to their students.

Faculty were presented with the challenge of developing hands-on engineering application activities which teachers could take directly into their classrooms. At the forefront of frustration in developing these activities was the difficulty of matching an activity with the diverse interest areas of science, math, and technology teachers. An additional problem was matching the activity to the level of mathematical and technical background of teachers and students. A hands-on activity was developed with specific approaches to overcome these challenges.


Developing an appropriate hands-on activity was clearly felt as a challenge to faculty in the manufacturing area. Previous departmental experience with presentations to high schools and

Morse, J. L. (1998, June), Bringing A Short Hands On Engineering Activity Into High School Classrooms Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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