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Creative Engineering: Helping Ninth Grade Students Discover Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Engineering in High School

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.372.1 - 10.372.10



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Paper Authors

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Malinda Zarske University of Colorado at Boulder

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Daria Kotys-Schwartz University of Colorado at Boulder

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Janet Yowell University of Colorado at Boulder

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Jacquelyn Sullivan University of Colorado at Boulder

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

Session #2610

Creative Engineering: Helping Ninth-Grade Students Discover Engineering

Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Daria Kotys-Schwartz, Jacquelyn F. Sullivan and Janet L. Yowell

College of Engineering and Applied Science University of Colorado at Boulder


Many students who graduate high school are not prepared with the educational tools to successfully pursue an engineering degree. Graduation from engineering colleges has declined significantly from its peak in 1988, reflecting a national malaise in interest in the engineering profession by today’s youth. By fostering in high school students the skills and knowledge to more fully understand the opportunities a career in engineering affords them, we hope to increase the number of interested and prepared students who enter engineering colleges.

Working with ninth-grade students at the new Denver School of Science and Technology provided an opportunity to teach a hands-on, high school engineering elective course, targeted at inspiring students to explore engineering as a future career path. Through the support of an NSF GK-12 grant, the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program developed an engineering elective that submerses ninth-grade students — most from populations traditionally underrepresented in the field of engineering — in the creative engineering design process, including emphasis on cooperative teamwork, engineering design/build projects and making technical presentations.

The goals of the Creative Engineering elective are to enhance student learning through experiencing relevant, hands-on, inquiry-based engineering; to instill knowledge of engineering as a career through an understanding of the pervasiveness of engineering in our world; and to provide an appreciation of engineering as the creation of things for the benefit of society. In this paper, we examine the planning, implementation and assessment results associated with developing a 12-week, hands-on, engineering design-focused ninth-grade elective course. Additionally, we discuss how a partnership between a newly developed urban public high school, engineering graduate students and faculty, and enthusiastic high school students and parents can make a significant impact on the knowledge of and interest in engineering among high school students.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Zarske, M., & Kotys-Schwartz, D., & Yowell, J., & Sullivan, J. (2005, June), Creative Engineering: Helping Ninth Grade Students Discover Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15612

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