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Design and Delivery of an Electro-Optics Summer Camp for Secondary Students (P12 Resource/Curriculum Exchange)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

PCEE Resource Exchange

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Benjamin R. Campbell Robert Morris University

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Ben Campbell holds a BS in physics and MS in electrical engineering from Penn State and a PhD in engineering from Robert Morris University. For the first decade of his career, he worked as a laser engineer at the Penn State Electro-Optics Center. In 2011 he joined Robert Morris University and currently holds the rank of Associate Professor of Engineering. He has been supporting RMU's mechatronics minor and also teaching dynamics and electronics classes. Recently he has been awarded research grants to study the laser welding of plastics and assist with commercialization of the technology. Since 2005, Dr. Campbell has served as faculty for the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences (a summer program at Carnegie Mellon) and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the PGSS Campaign, a nonprofit that is responsible for raising the funds to finance and sustain the program. He also serves on his local school board.

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A one week summer camp was designed to introduce middle and high school students to electro-optics. The camp is a combination of lecture, labs, games, and student driven projects. Each day there are short lectures introducing topics of electro-optics (photons, properties of light, electricity, basic circuits, mechatronics). Every lecture is followed by an activity that relates to the lecture topics. The camp has been refined over six summers to result in students learning enough to build Arduino driven optical and mechanical devices to produce a laser light show. The students gain both the hardware and software skills to control sources of light and mechanically drive mirrors, beam splitters, diffraction gratings and other optical devices. Supplemental activities are also introduced to help with differentiation to keep high performing students engaged while students who may need additional time can complete their tasks. Students are encouraged to demonstrate their creations for the class. This format could easily be replicated and offered with minimal investment in equipment and resources.

Campbell, B. R. (2019, June), Design and Delivery of an Electro-Optics Summer Camp for Secondary Students (P12 Resource/Curriculum Exchange) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32590

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