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Designing Engineering Teaching Kits (Etks) For Middle School Students

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

K-12 Outreach Initiatives

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.387.1 - 8.387.7



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Paper Authors

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Larry Richards

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

Session 2530

Designing Engineering Teaching Kits (ETKs) for Middle School Students

Larry G. Richards1, Hilary Bart-Smith, Gabriel Laufer, Joseph A.C. Humphrey, Randy Bell, and Robert Tai

University of Virginia

Abstract The University of Virginia has undertaken a major project to design, implement, test, and distribute Engineering Teaching Kits (ETKs) for use in middle school science and math courses. A new senior design course sequence for fourth year Mechanical Engineers allowed 30 students to participate in this project. Six ETKs are currently being developed: submersible vehicles, gels and brain perfusion, simple machines, solar car design, design for sustainability, and engineering materials. Each will emphasize the engineering design approach to problem solving. Every team has a faculty advisor from Engineering, a representative from the Education School, and a middle school teacher providing advice and assistance. In this paper, we will review our approach to developing ETKs, and briefly describe each of the ETKs and the assessments we are conducting.

Why should engineering schools address K-12 Education? The United States faces serious problems in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology education: • Enrollments in engineering programs have been declining; • The numbers of women and minority students in engineering are not representative of general population; • Science and math test scores of US high school students are low with respect to the rest of the industrial world; and • Most students leave high school with no real understanding of engineering or technology; yet most jobs today require some level of technological literacy.

These facts have aroused concern at all levels of government and business. Senator John Glenn’s commission report “Before it’s too late” has focused attention on the seriousness and scope of these problems, and proposed a set of possible solutions [1]. Congress and several state governments have moved to address these concerns. Several engineering

1 Larry G. Richards Phone: 434 924 3191, Joseph A. C. Humphrey, Hilary Bart-Smith, Randy Bell Gabriel Laufer, Robert Tai Address for all: VMSEEI, University of Virginia, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 122 Engineer’s Way, Charlottesville, Va. 22904 - 4746 “Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Richards, L. (2003, June), Designing Engineering Teaching Kits (Etks) For Middle School Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12509

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