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Project BUILD (Building Using an Interactive Learning Design): Hands-on Learning in Public Libraries in Partnership with Engineers (Resource Exchange)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

PCEE Resource Exchange

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jeannine Finton American Society Of Civil Engineers

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BS Zoology/Environmental Science, Butler University
MAT Museum Education, George Washington University
Jeannine Finton has over 30 years experience in the field of informal science/STEM education, working for organizations including the Maryland Science Center, Liberty Science Center, 4-H, and Baltimore Museum of Industry. She is a certified Library Associate in Maryland, where she worked for 7 years in the Harford County Public Library system conducting STEM programs and developing a system for circulating science equipment. In her position as Sr. Manager of Pre-College Outreach for the American Society of Civil Engineers she provides training and support for engineers interested in working with children.

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Keliann LaConte STAR Net/Space Science Institute

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Over the past decade, Keliann LaConte has worked with library, education, and STEM professionals to support the “STEM in libraries” movement in the U.S. As a 2018-19 Fulbright Global Scholar, Keliann is conducting research and professional development on the topic of STEM learning in libraries in Australia and the UK. Keliann co-convened the 2015 Public Libraries & STEM conference, and she currently provides resources and training to U.S. librarians as a member of the STAR Library Network (STAR Net) leadership team. Her training includes a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of Denver; she also has a master's degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from Caltech, and she performed astrobiology research at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Jennifer Jocz Education Development Center

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Jennifer Jocz is a Research Associate at Education Development Center (EDC). Her work focuses on mixed methods evaluations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-focused education programs and interventions in formal and informal settings.

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Project BUILD (Building Using an Interactive Learning Design): Hands-on Learning in Public Libraries in Partnership with Engineers (Resource Exchange)

Short Description Public libraries provide an excellent environment to reach children interested in engineering beyond the typical classroom. In Project BUILD, volunteer engineers are partnered with public libraries to conduct engineering activities with children in grades 2-5. This partnership enhances the capacity of the librarians to conduct hands-on engineering, provides role models to children, and builds the ability of the engineers to inspire children. Project BUILD libraries offer a variety of programs that maximize learning in the library setting: they are social events that directly engage caregivers; center on creativity; and encourage children to try again through the Engineering Design Process.

Additional Information Project BUILD is a National Science Foundation project. In Project BUILD, librarians conduct 1 – 2 hour programs to children in grades 2-5 once a month for 4 months, with engineers from the American Society of Civil Engineers providing assistance and role models. The librarians provide leadership in conducting informal education, and the engineers provide comfort with the topic of engineering. Programs include “Span-tastic Bridges”; “Designed to Survive: Engineering for Disaster”; “Clean Up Our World”; and “Power From Nature”. Activities were selected from/adapted from engineering activities developed for Dream Big: Engineering Our World, a giant-screen documentary currently showing in museums, as well as TeachEngineering, and resources suggested by librarians. For example, young library patrons are learning about the civil engineering concept of bringing “Green,” natural light into buildings using a cardboard box, recycled bottles, and water, as well as film clips to show how the principle is used in impoverished areas.

Each of the programs developed for Project BUILD contains additional resources, including how-to videos, hints for use in a library setting, book suggestions, family guides, and more. Participating Project BUILD librarians and engineers receive online and in-person training on these activities facilitated by the Project BUILD leadership team. All resources are available on through the STAR Library Network at

Finton, J., & LaConte, K., & Jocz, J. (2019, June), Project BUILD (Building Using an Interactive Learning Design): Hands-on Learning in Public Libraries in Partnership with Engineers (Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33204

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