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K 12 Summer Engineering Outreach Programs – Curriculum Comparisons Between Ages, Minorities, And Genders

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.855.1 - 10.855.24



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Gerhart

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

Session 1793

K-12 Summer Engineering Outreach Programs – Curriculum Comparisons Between Ages, Minorities, and Genders.

Andrew L. Gerhart

Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI 48075


Ensuring that the level of the material presented/used for a K-12 program is not too easy or too advanced can be a challenge to the instructor. Also ensuring that the material will be of interest to a variety of students (i.e., minorities, females, etc.) can be a challenge. Lawrence Technological University has two outreach programs each summer. One program, called the Summer Science Institute, is for high school juniors and seniors. The other program, called Summer Odyssey, is for middle school students. Both programs explain what engineers are, explain what engineers do, and promote problem solving skills. The students also experience various disciplines (or sub-disciplines) of engineering through a combination of presentations, laboratory experiences, and design work. In other words, much of the same material and activities are used for both programs. Although neither of these programs are specifically for minorities or women, a large portion of the students are female and approximately half are minorities. A review of the material/activities for the summer of 2004 is presented. In addition, in the summer of 2004, the students were surveyed to determine if the material was at the appropriate level, which activities were most valuable/useful, if certain activities appealed more for women, and if certain activities appealed more to minorities. These survey results and more are presented.

1. Introduction

While it is well known that K-12 outreach programs are necessary to promote engineering1, it is difficult to know if the program being offered is too advanced or too simple for the student participants. Should high school students get more advanced projects and activities than middle school students? Is it acceptable to use the same activities for both groups?

It is also well known that more effective outreach needs to be focused on underrepresented groups for engineering, specifically females and minorities1, 2, 3, 4. Many K-12 outreach programs are not gender-specific (including male and female participants) nor race-specific

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Gerhart, A. (2005, June), K 12 Summer Engineering Outreach Programs – Curriculum Comparisons Between Ages, Minorities, And Genders Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14303

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