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Kidslearn In Introduction To Engineering Design

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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

Introduction to Engineering and More

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.833.1 - 9.833.12



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Paper Authors

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Shawn Nichols

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Margaret Pinnell

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

Session 2653

kidslearn in Introduction to Engineering Design Margaret F. Pinnell, Ph. D., Shawn Nichols

University of Dayton Dayton, Ohio 45469-0210

Abstract EGR 101, Introduction to Engineering Design is a required, two semester hour, first year, multi-disciplinary engineering course offered at the University of Dayton (UD) through the school of engineering. In the winter semester of 2003, students enrolled in EGR 101participated in a service-learning project called kidslearn. The kidslearn service-learning project required the students to research a topic, develop a hands-on learning activity on one or more aspects of the topic and then facilitate this activity to at least one group of middle school or junior high students. Additionally, the students were required to choose a component that incorporated the basic principles addressed in their hands on activity and reverse engineer that component. Students wrote individual research papers summarizing the reverse engineering aspect of the project. Overall, the kidslearn project provided a mutually beneficial leaning experience to both the college age and school age students. Most importantly, this project helped the first year college students get excited about engineering and the school age students excited about science and engineering. Additionally, it provided the school age students with positive role models.

Introduction: According to Census 2000, less than 25% of engineers were non-Caucasian.1, 2 Many efforts to achieve a more diverse workforce in engineering include both recruitment and retention. Effective recruitment strategies include a variety of outreach programs that encourage elementary and high school age students from under-represented ethnic groups to become interested in science and math and to pursue that interest when making career choices. 3 This encouragement can come in many forms including mentorship, role models and teaching methods that make science and math exciting and fun while stimulating students to become more actively involved in their own learning. Some examples of successful outreach programs include various engineering summer camps and workshops for high school age students, science and technology exhibits, tours and field trips, and classroom exercises and experiments facilitated by engineering professionals, faculty and students. 4-9

Increasing the retention rate of first year engineering students from underrepresented ethnic groups is also required to increase diversity in the field of engineering. Although the attrition rate among all engineering students is very high (approximately 50 – 60%) the attrition rate of engineering students from underrepresented ethnic groups is even higher (> 70%). 10-12 Many universities require their first year engineering students to take an introduction to engineering design or similar entry-level engineering course. This entry-level course can serve several very important functions that have been found to be helpful in retaining students in

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

Nichols, S., & Pinnell, M. (2004, June), Kidslearn In Introduction To Engineering Design Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13947

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015