June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
During the past decade, STEM-oriented education and activities have proved to enhance middle school students’ interest in subjects usually perceived as difficult, such as mathematics and science. Also, STEM fields tend to engage students in the learning process, giving them the skills and competencies needed for future careers. Despite the overall efforts to include STEM subjects, the engineering component is almost missing in most middle school curricula across the nation. Moreover, students from underrepresented communities are less likely to have the opportunity of benefitting from STEM-enhanced curricula. Engineering activities for middle school students are mostly reduced to simple “applied science” experiments, without introduction to realistic scenarios. During the past two years, during summer terms, the authors developed two activities designated for STEM Girls’ Summer Camp, held over a week period. However, each activity was only two hours long and accommodated about fifteen middle school girls. In this paper, we present activities related to engineering design (the 3-D printed Electronic Mood Ring) and introduction to industrial robots using a robotic arm. The original Mood Rings were popular in the 1960s and 1970s; they included a special type of material that changes color in response to heat. As body heat warmed up the ring, it would change from dark to brown to yellow to green to blue. The electronic ring that girls were asked to design is similar, but it uses a temperature sensor and a microcontroller to produce the same result. We provided the students with a circuit board assembled onto the base. Students were asked to design their ring according to their preference but also according to the specifications and restrictions presented. It is to be noted that none of them have any prior engineering design experience. The ring would be 3D printed and assembled for them. The second activity had two parts: the first one involved an industry-grade ABB Robotic arm, each girl having the opportunity to manipulate the robot to perform a simple task. The second activity was to modify an Arduino C program to manipulate a small robotic arm to stack building blocks. In this paper, we present the concepts and notions that were covered, such as: angles, rotation and translation, mirroring motion, lines, geometric figures, ratios and proportions and so on. Also, we evaluated the girls’ level of understanding of these notions as they were applied to a real scenario. A summative assessment of each activity will be also presented.
Ciobanescu Husanu, I. N., & Ertekin, Y., & Carr, M. E. (2019, June), Introducing Middle School Girls to Engineering Design and Manufacturing Activities at STEM Girls’ Summer Camp Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33015
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