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Introducing Technology Using Legos To At Risk And Minority Elementary Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Diversity: Women and Minorities in Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.810.1 - 9.810.6

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Paper Authors

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Julie Phillips

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Joseph Fuehne

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1148

Introducing Technology Using LEGOs to At-Risk and Minority Elementary Students

Joe Fuehne, Julie Phillips

Purdue University School of Technology at Columbus-Southeast Indiana


Many at-risk and minority elementary students are not introduced to the “fun” of technology. In addition, they often lack good role models that utilize technology in their careers. To the students, there is no connection between technology and the devices and machines that they see or use everyday.

Certainly, technology is not always considered “fun” and is often not considered as a potential career. In fact, girls are often discouraged from seeking careers in technology or they simply feel their math and science skills are not suitable for technology careers. And, too often, these misconceptions originate at young ages, preventing knowledgeable and capable people from pursuing personally rewarding and satisfying careers.

This program aims to use very simple tools – LEGOs- that nearly all elementary school students have experienced and enjoyed. A LEGO set called Pneumatics I: Introduction to Air Power Set is provided for each student. Several simple machines using pneumatics, like a vertical press, are constructed by each student. The fundamentals of pneumatics and hydraulics are evident in these simple machines using LEGOs. A videotape, Discovering Fluid Power: Hydraulics and Pneumatics at Work in Your World, also is shown to the students to allow them to relate the simple machines and principles demonstrated in the LEGOs to the larger, more complex machines they see in their world.

This project is done in conjunction with the Center for Teaching & Learning, an initiative of the Community Education Coalition, in Columbus, Indiana, which has recently received a grant to bring educational opportunities to at-risk children.

While this idea may be simple in thought and execution, it introduces some at-risk youth to technology and to positive role models that may help them to build constructive and satisfying lives.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Phillips, J., & Fuehne, J. (2004, June), Introducing Technology Using Legos To At Risk And Minority Elementary Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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