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Engineering Everyday Discovery Program: Motivating Middle School Children's Interest in STEM

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre- College Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.625.1 - 26.625.16



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Paper Authors


Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves holds a joint appointment in the Schools of Education and Engineering as Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Her research interests are in STEM education, biomedical signal and image processing, and machine learning. She has been awarded the Dominion Strong Men & Women Excellence in Leadership Award, Richmond Joint Engineers Council Engineer of the Year, AAAS Diplomacy Fellowship, and the NSBE Janice Lumpkin Educator of the Year Award.

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LaChelle Monique Waller Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Waller is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Teaching and Learning, School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her B.S. degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Chowan University and a Ph.D. in Genetics Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Virginia Tech. Dr. Waller is interested in utilizing innovative technologies and biological sciences to provide direct support for underserved communities and improve K-20 STEM education initiatives.

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Engineering Everyday Discovery Program: Motivating Middle School Children Interest in STEMMiddle school (6th – 8th grade) has been shown to be a crucial juncture for maintaining studentmotivation, interest and awareness in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM). Toward that end many summer informal STEM education experiences have beenestablished for middle school students. While these experiences can be very fun and engagingfor students, they often consist of prescribed experiments, projects, and investigations. Here wepresent a novel summer enrichment program, Engineering Everyday, which consists of both theprescribed experiments/activities and also a design project based investigation which allows thestudents to explore their imaginative side in the design and prototyping of an invention of theirown creation.The Engineering Everyday program, designed for middle school students, was a one week allday (8:15 am – 5:00 pm) summer camp on the campus of a public urban research university. Forpart of the day students participated in prescribed hands-on experiments and activities inbioengineering, computer science, robotics, and electrical circuits. During the second part of theprogram students were mentored in idea generations, design, research and prototyping theirinvention. The day concluded with various indoor/outdoor free play activities. The weekconcluded with the students presenting their inventions (flip chart and oral) to engineeringfaculty, technology transfer faculty, parents and friends.While the sample size is not large, the student evaluations are overwhelmingly positive and showthat a one week, interdisciplinary summer informal STEM education program can provide aneducational experience which fosters with children’s motivation, interest, and awareness inSTEM.

Hargraves, R. H., & Waller, L. M. (2015, June), Engineering Everyday Discovery Program: Motivating Middle School Children's Interest in STEM Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23963

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