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Introducing Middle School Girls to Engineering Design and Manufacturing Activities at STEM Girls’ Summer Camp

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Irina Nicoleta Ciobanescu Husanu Drexel University

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Irina Ciobanescu Husanu, Ph. D. is Assistant Clinical Professor with Drexel University, Engineering Technology program. Her area of expertise is in thermo-fluid sciences with applications in micro-combustion, fuel cells, green fuels and plasma assisted combustion. She has prior industrial experience in aerospace engineering that encompasses both theoretical analysis and experimental investigations such as designing and testing of propulsion systems including design and development of pilot testing facility, mechanical instrumentation, and industrial applications of aircraft engines. Also, in the past 10 years she gained experience in teaching ME and ET courses in both quality control and quality assurance areas as well as in thermal-fluid, energy conversion and mechanical areas from various levels of instruction and addressed to a broad spectrum of students, from freshmen to seniors, from high school graduates to adult learners. She also has extended experience in curriculum development. Dr Husanu developed laboratory activities for Measurement and Instrumentation course as well as for quality control undergraduate and graduate courses in ET Masters program. Also, she introduced the first experiential activity for Applied Mechanics courses. She is coordinator and advisor for capstone projects for Engineering Technology.

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Yalcin Ertekin Drexel University

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Dr. Ertekin received his BS degree in mechanical engineering from Istanbul Technical University. He received MS degree in Production Management from Istanbul University. After working for Chrysler Truck Manufacturing Company in Turkey as a project engineer, he received dual MS degrees in engineering management and mechanical engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T), formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla. He worked for Toyota Motor Corporation as a quality assurance engineer for two years and lived in Toyota City, Japan. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MS&T in 1999 while he worked as a quality engineer for Lumbee Enterprises in St. Louis, Missouri. His first teaching position was at the architectural and manufacturing Sciences department of Western Kentucky University. He was a faculty at Trine University teaching mainly graduate courses as well as undergraduate courses in engineering technology and mechanical engineering departments. He is currently teaching in Engineering Technology Department at Drexel University. His area of expertise is in CAD/CAM, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, rapid prototyping and quality control. His research interest includes sensor based condition monitoring of CNC machining, machine tool accuracy characterization and enhancement, non-invasive surgical tool design, reverse engineering and bio materials.

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M. Eric Carr Drexel University Orcid 16x16

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Mr. Eric Carr is an Instructor with Drexel University’s Department of Engineering Technology. A graduate of Old Dominion University’s Computer Engineering Technology program and Drexel's College of Engineering, Eric enjoys finding innovative ways to use microcontrollers and other technologies to enhance Drexel’s Engineering Technology course offerings. Eric is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Computer Engineering at Drexel, and is an author of several technical papers in the field of Engineering Technology Education.

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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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