June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
The United States relies on a well-prepared workforce to remain competitive in science and engineering. However, the number of engineering graduates is insufficient to cover the growing demand. As a result, an abundance of outreach programs exist throughout the country with a specific goal to increase the interest in engineering and the number of students pursuing engineering degrees. Unfortunately, the ideal format for effective outreach programs does not yet exist and formal evaluation is needed. This paper will highlight two formal engineering outreach programs that were part of two large education grants primarily focused on increasing college readiness of a cohort of children from underrepresented minorities and low socio-economic backgrounds. The first program ran from 2009 to 2015 and the second program began in 2015 and will run through 2021. Both programs progress with the children as they progress in school until they graduate high school.
The first program initially began with a two-week summer engineering camp that slowly evolved into a yearlong program including on-site presentations, an after school program, and summer camp. The engineering camps increased in scale and level of intensity each year as the students increased in age. The activities began with simple activities such as balsa wood bridges and evolved to large-scale projects that required days of construction. Likewise, the afterschool program began with simple activities such as foam core board chairs and concluded with a trebuchet competition modeled after the Science Channel’s show “Punkin Chunkin.” At the conclusion of the first program, the participating teachers were asked to participate in a focus group to gain insight into their perceptions of the program and its sustainability potential. Additionally, student participants were also asked to complete surveys regarding their participation in the program. Evaluation of the data resulted in several best practices and lessons learned that were used to plan the second program. The second program is more teacher-focused and takes a very different approach. It provides math teachers with engineering related content that aligns with the existing curriculum and state standards to potentially improve the math readiness of middle school students. The program builds upon the best practices and lessons-learned from the first program along with existing literature.
This paper will provide a summary of the activities from the first program along with the specific best practices and lessons learned. The best practices and lessons learned will be supported by the data from the teacher focus group along with data from student respondents and a qualitative summary from the Principal Investigator. Additionally, the paper will also provide a description of the second program including program development and plans for formal assessment.
Carroll, J. C., & Sipes, S. M., & Benton, J. W., & Aucoin, T., & de Zamacona Cervantes, G. E., & O'Neill, A., & Syed, S. M. (2017, June), Lessons Learned in K-12 Engineering Outreach and Their Impact on Program Planning (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28622
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