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Engagement in Practice: Developing a Sustainable K-12 Outreach STEM Program

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engagement in Practice: Engaging the Community through Educational Outreach

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Joan B. Schuman Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Dr. Joan Schuman is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Missouri S&T. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Arkansas and completed her Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi. Schuman is a Project Management Professional (PMP) certified through the Project Management Institute. She worked for several years in the aerospace industry with the Boeing Company initially as a design engineer and then later in systems engineering. At Missouri S&T, she teaches a variety of courses emphasizing Project Management and Financial Management for both undergraduate and graduate level courses. Her research interests focus on engineering education with a special interest in Service Learning and project management. Schuman is also the Departmental Experiential Learning Coordinator. She has developed her undergraduate project management class into a Service Learning class where the students work with area communities on real projects that benefit both the communities and students.

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Katie Shannon Missouri S&T

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Dr. Katie Shannon is Associate Teaching Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology with Honors from the University of North Carolina and her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from the Harvard Medical School. She has been active in biology education research since early in her career. She was a fellow in the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) as a Postdoc at UNC. In the SPIRE program Dr. Shannon was introduced to the fellowship of teaching and learning. In 2013, she participated in the American Society for Microbiology Biology Scholars Program Research Residency. During her research residency, she conducted research to determine if an assignment achieves the desired learning objectives. At Missouri S&T, she works closely with students on campus in many capacities. She has trained forty undergraduates in her lab, volunteered to run hands on activities for girls’ summer camps, and advises pre-med students. She is also a co-advisor of the Missouri S&T iGEM, a synthetic biology student design team. Dr. Shannon’s primary teaching role is Cell Biology (BioSci 2213). She used technology to improve the course, utilizing personal response systems (clickers) to increase student involvement and “flipping” one day a week by recording and editing online lectures to better utilize class time for problem solving.

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Abstract In recent years, an emphasis has been placed on incorporating projects that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related subjects into K12 curriculum. These projects often involve solving real world challenges in order to engage the students and develop critical thinking skills. Research findings suggest that conceptual learning is improved particularly if students are required to use knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines. In this paper, we discuss the development of an outreach program beginning with 6th grade students in math and science classes. The students are in a rural school district and many are in the lower social economic sector. The goals of this program are threefold: First to enhance the critical thinking skills of the students; second, to reach the students who fall into the lower social economic sector who might not have encouragement to pursue STEM fields in the future; and finally to create a sustaining co-mentoring program between university instructors and students with the K12 teachers and their students. Our team began work with the 6th grade students in their classroom during school hours. Students initially work on a well-defined project or experiment then, based on their initial finding, work as a part of a team to design and implement their next project or experiment. To measure the impact of our program in the future, our team will assess changes in student test scores and possibly conduct pre and post surveys to assess changes in student attitudes toward STEM. One important lesson learned was that for sustainability, the time commitment of only 1 hour per week is necessary.

Schuman, J. B., & Shannon, K. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: Developing a Sustainable K-12 Outreach STEM Program Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30382

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