Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Despite the ubiquity of industrial engineers in the workplace, the K-12 community is relatively unaware of this critical engineering discipline. As a result, few high school students pursue industrial engineering (IE) as a career option. In fact, engineering enrollment data at Iowa State University shows that very few (typically 4%) of the students who select a major upon entry into an engineering program select IE. On the other hand, students who enter as undeclared engineering majors are more likely (around 16%) to select IE after learning about the program. Past research has shown that K-12 student awareness of a STEM discipline impacts their eventual selection of that discipline as a career option. Therefore, for IE to live up to its potential as a discipline, a greater number of IE-oriented outreach activities are needed for K-12 students. In this work, we report on the development, deployment, and assessment of a suite of IE outreach activities at Iowa State University. These hands-on activities were focused on assembly line and supply chain management concepts. The activities were conducted with pre-service teachers enrolled in the School of Education at Iowa State University, and with middle and high school students. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first IE-focused outreach effort with pre-service teachers.
While increasing the number of IE outreach activities is important, adopting the right structure for the activities is equally important. A risk in IE outreach activities is that they may lead to a trivial understanding of the subject. There is an understandable temptation to suggest that IE concepts are encountered regularly in day-to-day affairs, which can create misconceptions about the field. Other investigators have noted that the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) modules related to environmental engineering, agriculture engineering, and bioengineering are richer in science content than those based on civil engineering and industrial engineering. To address these concerns, we have explicitly attempted to design our IE outreach activities to include a stronger math/science link, along with traditional IE concepts, such as line balancing, eliminating bottlenecks, and demand forecasting. In this work, we provide details of the different activities that were developed and realistic estimates of the time required to develop and deploy them, as well as assessment results from the associated programs.
Mittal, A., & Sundararajan, S., & Raman, D. R., & Krejci, C. C. (2018, June), Industrial Engineering Outreach to K-12 Community Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30655
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