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Project Activities in Electronics to Spark Interest in STEM from PK-12 through Life

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Ramakrishnan Sundaram Gannon University

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Dr. Sundaram is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Gannon University. His areas of research include computational architectures for signal and image processing as well as novel methods to improve engineering education pedagogy.

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This paper discusses the work-in-progress to use engineering project activities in electrical circuits and electronics so as to train PK-12 STEM educators in the step-by-step process of assembly and testing of electronic circuits. It is well known that electronic circuit design requires fundamental and advanced knowledge of STEM concepts. The concept-to-product process forms an integral part of electronic circuit design, assembly, test, and validation. Hands-on laboratory and project-based experiences are deemed to be among the most effective means to introduce and reinforce concepts in electronics. In order to exploit the synergy between the PK-12 STEM curricula and the undergraduate engineering degree programs, PK-12 STEM educators are engaged in structured project activities through workshops such as the E-in-STEM workshop held as part of the Frontiers in Education conference in October 2016. During the ninety-minute duration of the workshop, as many as five project activities, ranging from simple resistive circuit configurations to advanced transistor and RF circuits, were first outlined, then assembled and tested by the educators. Through participation in this workshop, PK-12 STEM educators are expected to gain the opportunity to identify new and/or revise laboratory activities within their PK-12 STEM curriculum. Through these activities, PK-12 educators can introduce and teach PK-12 STEM students the use of engineering technology to solve engineering problems with design and cost constraints.

The workshop provided (a) the overview of necessary and sufficient detail of STEM concepts that would apply to the chosen project activities (b) application of these concepts through hands-on project-based laboratory activities. The participants are not required to or expected to know advanced concepts in circuits and electronics. The workshop provided the experiences necessary to link the theory to practice through assembly of the electronic circuit and experimental observations. The educators work with kits containing electrical components which can be placed on the circuit assembly board using snap connectors and connected together to create basic and advanced circuits. The survey questionnaire administered upon conclusion of each project activity provides the feedback necessary to assess the overall process and each project activity.

Sundaram, R. (2017, June), Project Activities in Electronics to Spark Interest in STEM from PK-12 through Life Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28766

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