June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.828.1 - 13.828.15
KIDS BIRTHDAY PARTIES: “HAVING FUN AND LEARNING ENGINEERING”
Abstract According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)1, interest in science, math, and engineering among the next generation in the United States has been declining at an alarming rate for several decades. This may be caused from intimidation that these subjects pose to primary and secondary education students. Educating these students (K- 12th grade) on the social and economic benefits of pursuing careers in science and technology through fun, unique, and interactive parties is an excellent opportunity and is the focus of this paper. These science-oriented parties can be used for a plethora of occasions including: birthday parties, Bar Mitzvahs, lock ins, celebrations, and much more. Typically, educational outreach programs teach students who are already interested in science and engineering. These engineering parties are a surprise and capture attention from children who have never expressed interest in science and math before. In addition, these parties, organized by volunteering college students at local universities and/or colleges, help parents plan and operate educational and fun parties. This paper discusses how programs can be developed at universities and colleges allowing college students to give to the community and serve as role models for the future generation of scientists and engineers. The program consists of college students coordinating entertaining activities for the parties that use safe, easy-to-do, and enjoyable games involving science and engineering. The program engages the community: parents, undergraduate students, graduate students, and educators. Examples of experiments and alternatives on how the program can be adopted and implemented by different colleges and universities for a birthday party are discussed.
Introduction One of the problems that parents have every time their child’s birthday is approaching is “What can I do this year to make my child’s birthday experience fun and different? Planning an exciting, original, and rememberable birthday party is tedious and some times expensive. An outreach program implemented at a near by university or college willing to offer their services to help parents plan their child’s party is a solution. At the same time, such a program can serve as an alternative way of teaching children grades K-12 science and engineering by having fun in a non-traditional way which is “birthday parties”.
There are many outreach programs in place now for children grades K-12, but none of them involve a birthday party. The University of Colorado at Boulder2 has engineering workshops and engineering laboratories for children to attend with a goal in expanding the love of engineering in women and minorities. Montana State University’s Civil Engineering department3 works with 2nd and 3rd graders to show the exciting side of bridges and dams and their real life connections to mathematics and engineering in a workshop setting. Also, Oregon State University4 has a National Science Foundation funded program of graduate students who bring engineering activities to local elementary schools with the intent to participate minorities and women as much as possible.
Ohio University is working on a new type of non-traditional outreach program call “Engineering Birthday Parties”. This concept has the potential to outreach children with a more
Botte, G., & Schneider, K., & Boggs, B. (2008, June), Kids Birthday Parties: “Having Fun And Learning Engineering” Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3631
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