June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.560.1 - 8.560.7
EXPLORE ENGINEERING: Rose-Hulman’s Outreach to Middle and High School Students
Dale Long, Kevin Sutterer, and Fred Berry Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Introduction Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) places a high priority on reaching out to the local community. This is part of the formula for its success. Such outreach fosters service opportunities so students can discover engineering, mathematics, and science careers are about more than calculations, theories and books. Service is a fundamental aspect of being a professional and thus fundamental to our students’ education. Pedagogically, learning in the affective and social domains is enhanced by such activities, helping improve cognitive learning. Although our emphasis on outreach is a top-down initiative, newcomers to the RHIT community have always been surprised by how unselfishly the staff, students and faculty rally to be a part of community outreach.
Terre Haute, Indiana, the home city of Rose-Hulman, is also a regional center for most of the Wabash River valley in west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois. Much of RHIT’s outreach is to Wabash Valley residents. RHIT’s EXPLORE ENGINEERING is a science and engineering program for Wabash Valley middle and high school students. This program is offered every other Tuesday night during the academic year for 1-1/2 hours. Though the program was free for a number of years, a nominal fee of $10 per family is now charged to join for the entire year. Over its nearly 10 year life, hundreds of middle and high school students have explored the exciting world of engineering and science thanks to their participation in EXPLORE ENGINEERING. The program has grown in popularity and stature during the past four years, thanks to the support of the Lilly Endowment Inc. and Indiana Space Grant Consortium. Prior to the recent funding, however, the program was still successful, though operating on little to no budget, other than the commitment of Rose-Hulman External Affairs’ staff to organize and moderate the meetings every other week, publish a newsletter, maintain membership information and lead the faculty/staff mentoring team administering the program.
Educational Benefits Hands-On Learning Models: The students work in teams to complete hands-on projects to learn elementary engineering and science principles. Examples include mousetrap-powered cars, where elements of force, aerodynamics and simplicity of design were crucial to developing a successful project; construction of ho t air balloons, where the students' efforts must consider heat transfer, aeronautics and teamwork; and constructing model bridges, where students learned project planning, cost effectiveness and computer techniques to build sturdy bridges.
Learning That Science and Engineering Are Fun Career Fields: EXPLORE ENGINEERING program addresses national studies showing that teenagers lose interest in engineering, science and mathematics during middle school years. Students turn out in large numbers every year for the Edible Engineering Contest (constructing vehicles from simple food products), K'Nex® Building
“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ? 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”
Long, D., & Sutterer, K., & Berry, F. (2003, June), Explore Engineering: Rose Hulman’s Outreach To Middle And High School Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/12143
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