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RU RET-E: Designing and Implementing Engineering-based Lessons for the Pre-college Classroom

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Curriculum Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1137.1 - 25.1137.11



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Paper Authors


Evelyn Hanna Laffey Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

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Evelyn Hanna Laffey is the Assistant Dean for Engineering Education with the Office of Student Development at the Rutgers University School of Engineering. She has a bachelor's in mathematics and doctorate in mathematics education from Rutgers University. She has over ten years experience working with K-12 students and teachers. Her research interests are in engineering education at the K-16 level and understanding how to provide an excellent and equitable education to all students.

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Kimberly A Cook-Chennault Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Kimberly Cook-Chennault is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Rutgers University and Associate Director for the Center for Advanced Energy Systems (CAES). She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and Stanford University, respectively, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan. Prior to receiving her doctorate, Cook-Chennault worked at Ford Motor Company, Cummins Engine, Visteon, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories as a summer intern and Project Engineer. As a product engineer with Ford and Visteon, she designed seat and washer bottle assemblies, and established design criterion for impending product platforms. While at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, she created dynamic structural finite element numerical models of containers used to store and transport explosive materials. She also designed experiments to validate the predictions of these models. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Cook-Chennault developed the first algorithm for the design hybrid power supplies for portable MEMS. This work culminated with the creation of a user-friendly MatLab code, POWER (Power Optimization for Wireless Energy Requirements). This work introduced a new area of research, Hybrid Power Supply Design, which was the base line for the patents Vehicle Hybrid Energy System, United States Patent Application 20080245587, and University of Michigan File 3668 - Hybrid Battery Supply for EV, HEV or PHEV. As an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, Cook-Chennault’s research focuses on two areas: design of hybrid power systems and design of energetic piezoelectric materials for application to smart acoustic dampening, sensors/actuators, and energy harvesting. Design of hybrid power systems is the development of algorithms, techniques, and technology aimed at the rational design of power systems that incorporate more than one energy generating or harvesting device, with an emphasis on alternative energy systems. Cook-Chennault is currently collaborating with Sunlight Photonics, the Maine Maritime Academy, the NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Atlantis Resources Corporation on a Department of Energy (DOE)-funded project to develop a Marine and Hydrokinetic Prototype. For this work, Cook-Chennault will use her expertise in system integration and mechanical engineering to fabricate and analyze the prototype. The prototype will be assembled and tested by the Cook-Chennault group at Rutgers. All modeling work will be supplemented with experiments to validate models. Design of energetic piezoelectric materials focuses on exploring the electrical, mechanical and electromechanical properties of novel composite materials that can be applied to acoustic dampening, dampening, sensors/actuators, and energy harvesting. Cook-Chennault is currently funded through NASA to explore the electromechanical capabilities of three phase piezoelectric materials comprised of a matrix, piezoelectric and conductive material. The envisioned application of these materials is for acoustic liners that are used for attenuating combustion and turbine noise radiated from jet engines. Similarly, Cook-Chennault has been funded through NSF to explore these types of materials for application to sensors and actuators for self powering wireless sensor networks and energy harvesting for portable microelectronics. Inspired by advances in energy storage, generation,l and harvesting technologies, Cook-Chennault co-authored a NSF grant focusing on green technology, which aims to infuse engineering principals pertaining to green energy into pre-college curricula.

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Linda S. Hirsch New Jersey Institute of Technology

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RU RET-E: Designing and Implementing Engineering-Based Lessons for the Pre-College ClassroomRutgers University Research Experience for Teachers in Engineering (RU RET-E) aims to: (1)engage middle and high school math and science teachers in innovative “green” engineeringresearch during the summer, and (2) support teachers as they leverage their research experienceby integrating engineering innovation into their academic year, pre-college classrooms. Toengage our community in the Green Revolution, we have designed RU RET-E to offer researchexperiences in green engineering for pre- and in-service mathematics and science teachers.During the 2011 summer, 17 middle and high school, math and science teachers engaged in RURET-E. Seven engineering faculty hosted the teachers by offering unique research experiences ingreen technology. For example, one pair of teachers investigated the nature of Net-Zerobuildings and worked alongside the professor and graduate students to assess the efficiency ofseveral buildings around campus. Complimenting the research experience, teachers worked withfaculty from the Graduate School of Education to design lessons for their academic yearclassroom. For example, the Net Zero team designed lessons for their calculus and physicsclassroom that engaged their students in measuring the efficiency of their school and designing amore efficient building.The proposed workshop will provide an opportunity for some of the 17 teachers to discuss theirRU RET-E experience and showcase their resulting lessons. Teachers will reflect on theimplementation of their lessons and share reactions from their students. Additionally, theprogram management team will give an overview of RU RET-E and present preliminary datafrom pre- and post-surveys designed to assess the extent in which the program met its goals.

Laffey, E. H., & Cook-Chennault, K. A., & Hirsch, L. S. (2012, June), RU RET-E: Designing and Implementing Engineering-based Lessons for the Pre-college Classroom Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21894

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