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Introducing Aerospace Engineering to Middle and High School Students: Techniques that Help Them Learn While Having Fun

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-college Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.838.1 - 25.838.8



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Paper Authors


Adeel Khalid Southern Polytechnic State University

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Adeel Khalid, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor, Systems Engineering, Southern Polytechnic State University; Office: 678-915-7241; Fax: 678-915-5527; Web:

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Introducing Aerospace Engineering to Middle and High School Students – Techniques that help them Learn while having FunABSTRACTAerospace Engineering (AE) is often thought of as ‘Rocket Science’ that is theoretical andextremely difficult for a common student to understand. On the contrary AE is one of the specialdisciplines of Engineering in which theory is often developed based on the empirical results.There are several examples of both Aero and Space vehicles that were developed by trial anderror. Aerospace Engineering in general is a discipline in which a lot of learning is done byhands on, experimental, operational, observational, and exploratory techniques. These techniquescan be taught and enjoyed by students of all ages including middle and high school students (K-12). These techniques are explored in this study and their results are identified.One of the ideal ways to spark interest in students in the field of engineering in general and AEin particular is through hands on activities in educational camps. Two AE educational campswere held for middle and high school students at Southern Polytechnic State University in thesummer of 2010, followed by three improved camps in the summer of 2011. The response wasencouraging. A few field trips were arranged and guest lecturers were invited. Airplane,helicopter, and space shuttle models were used as training aids. Students participated in flightcompetitions including range and endurance competitions. Model rocket launch was one of thewell received activities. Model aircraft flights were enjoyed by students. The guest lecturerintroduced students to Computer Aided Design (CAD) using state of the art software CATIA.Few pictures from the camp are shown below. The overall response from the participants wasenthusiastic. Students enjoyed the hands on activities and gave encouraging feedback. At-leastone of the campers has since graduated from high school and has joined the undergraduate AEprogram. Several others have promised to study AE and work in the AE industry. Figure 1: Aerospace Engineering Camp held in summer 2010 at SPSU, for middle and high school studentsHands on, design, build, fly techniques, visual and other tactile methods proved to be moreeducationally valuable than lecture based sessions. Various techniques used to engage middleand high school students during the camp and the results obtained are discussed in this paper.References 1., Last visited on 10/4/11

Khalid, A. (2012, June), Introducing Aerospace Engineering to Middle and High School Students: Techniques that Help Them Learn While Having Fun Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21595

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