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Gizmo Festival: K-8 Outreach as a Design/Build for Engineering Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Focus on Entry Experiences in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.746.1 - 22.746.29



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Paper Authors


Margot A. Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot is an Associate Professor of chemical engineering and Associate Dean of engineering at Bucknell University.

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Lori Smolleck Bucknell University

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Gizmo  Festival:  K-­‐8  Outreach  as  a  Design/  Build  for  Engineering  Students    The  Gizmo  Project  is  completed  by  first-­‐year  engineering  students  as  the  final  exercise  in  their  introductory  course.    The  students,  in  teams  of  3-­‐4,  must  design  and  build  a  “gizmo”  that  can  demonstrate  a  given  concept  from  science,  mathematics,  or  engineering.    Concepts  are  submitted  by  local  teachers,  scout  leaders,  or  teachers-­‐in-­‐training.    Students  generate  their  own  constraints  and  goals  in  addition  to  any  imposed  by  the  teachers/volunteers  and  the  faculty  imposed  constraint  that  any  Gizmo  must  be  both  safe  and  composed  of  $20  or  less  in  materials.    Concepts  as  diverse  as  “half-­‐life”  and  “surface  tension”  have  been  foci  of  past  Gizmos.      This  project  acts  as  K-­‐8  outreach  in  two  important  ways.    First,  the  Gizmos  are  demonstrated  in  an  interactive  Expo,  open  to  teachers,  volunteers,  children  and  parents.    Typical  attendance  is  over  200  people,  about  half  of  whom  are  K-­‐8  students.    Second,  the  Gizmos  are  given  away  by  the  end  of  the  Expo  event  to  any  teacher  or  other  adult  who  requests  them,  for  continued  use  in  educational  settings.    Survey  data  indicate  that  the  Expo  and  Gizmos  are  very  positively  received  by  K-­‐8  students  as  well  as  their  parents  and  teachers,  while  achieving  its  educational  objectives  for  the  first  year  students.      

Vigeant, M. A., & Smolleck, L. (2011, June), Gizmo Festival: K-8 Outreach as a Design/Build for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18027

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