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Curricular Exchange between a STEM University and a Rural Elementary School: The Establishment of an Interactive Video Link

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Thinking Outside the Box! Innovative Curriculum Exchange for K12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.410.1 - 22.410.8



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Paper Authors


Van Stephen Blackwood Colorado School Of Mines, GK-12 NSF Fellow

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I am a mechanical engineering graduate student at Colorado School of Mines. I am funded by National Science Foundation GK-12 teaching fellowship. I research chemically reacting flow with respect to hydrogen/nitrous oxide combustion chemistry.

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Barbara M. Moskal Colorado School of Mines

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Barbara Moskal received her Ed.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Professor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, the Interim Director of the Trefny Institute for Educational Innovation, and the Director of the Center for Assessment in STEM at the Colorado School of Mines and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education. Her research interests are educational project assessment and evaluation, K-12 Outreach and gender equity in STEM.

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Curricular Exchange between a STEM University and a Rural Elementary School: The Establishment of an Interactive Video LinkAs part of an educational partnership between a university and anelementary school, an interactive video link has been establishedbetween the participating schools. This video conference unitsupports the exchange and delivery of curricular materials acrossapproximately 250 miles and minimizes the need for individualtravel. The participating universities primary focus is on science,technology, engineering and mathematics; the elementary schoolserves students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade who livein a rural region. Through funding of BLINDED, thisuniversity/elementary partnership has been established to improveyoung students understanding of science and engineering byenriching the curriculum with the use of hands-on activities.During the summer of 2010, seven elementary school teachers,representing grades K-5 and the school’s science specialist,attended a summer workshop on the university's campus. Thisworkshop was rich with hands-on science experiments that couldbe used in the elementary classroom. A graduate student from theuniversity also attended. Immediately following the workshop andat the start of the school year, the graduate student traveled to theparticipating elementary school, was introduced to the students,and presented an initial lesson plan. The purpose of this visit wasto meet the students before interacting with them via the interactiveporthole. This made the graduate student “real” to the participatingstudents. In this initial presentation, food coloring, water and stripsof paper towels were used to stimulate and study the capillaryaction of a candle’s flame. The students also learned how to formand tests hypotheses.The next phase of this project is to continue communicationbetween the university and elementary school via the interactivelink. It is the participating graduate student’s responsibility tocommunicate with the school and provide it with instructionalsupport for up to 15 hours every week. Future lessons are plannedthat include the examination of states of matter and, in the uppergrades, the extension of these states to clathrate hydrate cells.Clatherate hydrate cells are flammable ice like structures that canbe set on fire, demonstrating the unique relationship betweennatural gas and water under certain set pressures. Due to theinvolvement of fire in this experiment, students will observe theexperiment via the web connection rather than participate. Otherlessons are planned in which students will complete the activity attheir site simultaneously with the graduate student’sdemonstration. These experiments will be collected and built intocurricular units throughout the academic year. A primary form ofassessment will be comparisons on baseline measures of thestudents’ performance on the states mandated science test prior toand following this intervention.

Blackwood, V. S., & Moskal, B. M. (2011, June), Curricular Exchange between a STEM University and a Rural Elementary School: The Establishment of an Interactive Video Link Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17691

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