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Sharpening Pencils And Young Minds

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.357.1 - 2.357.10

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Paper Authors

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Richard H. Barnett

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Mary A. Eiff

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D. Perry Achor

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Troy E. Kostek

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William J. Hutzel

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Bruce Harding

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

Session 2525

Sharpening Pencils and Young Minds

William J. Hutzel, D. Perry Achor, Richard H. Barnett, Mary A. Eiff, Bruce A. Harding, and Troy E. Kostek,

Purdue University


The School of Technology at Purdue University has undertaken an ambitious project to increase the number of students who eventually pursue careers in science and technology. The "Techmobile" is an interactive traveling exhibit for Indiana eighth graders that introduces a wide array of scientific information in the context of manufacturing and sharpening a pencil. The events are flashy and fun, but force students to use basic math and science skills that are the foundation for any technical career. This project was made possible with the generous support of the CIBA Educational Foundation, who is an active supporter of the nationwide "School to Work" movement. This document is a useful case study for institutions considering similar projects.


The School of Technology at Purdue University is working to increase the number of successful college students available for technical careers in Indiana. This goal is an ongoing challenge since relatively few Indiana residents have a four year college degree. In fact, Indiana ranks among the lowest of the 50 states in terms of the percentage of high school students who elect to pursue a four year college degree. One way to combat the status quo is to reach out to grade school and high school students before long term career decisions have been made. The short term goal of a successful outreach program is to show young students that technology can be fun. The anticipated long term impact is an increase in the number of well prepared students entering college.

The "Techmobile" is the School of Technology's newest and most ambitious outreach program. The project was made possible by a generous grant from the CIBA Educational Foundation, a strong supporter of the nationwide "School to Work" movement. With contributions from every department in the School of Technology, the project will take less than two years from inception to implementation. A large interdisciplinary group of volunteers developed the overall theme in the Spring of 1996. A smaller group designed, built, and tested six individual stations during the next year. Eighth grade students will evaluate the exhibit during the Spring of 1997 and refinements will take place during the summer months. Initial delivery to classrooms across Indiana is anticipated by the Fall of 1997.

Barnett, R. H., & Eiff, M. A., & Achor, D. P., & Kostek, T. E., & Hutzel, W. J., & Harding, B. (1997, June), Sharpening Pencils And Young Minds Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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