June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
In the college of engineering, our faculty, staff and students are often asked to attend STEM events and or visit schools to share STEM content with K-12 math and science classes. Requests are sometimes well in advance of the delivery date but can also be received at the last minute, with little time for adequate preparation. We are exploring a solution to this challenge that will serve to increase the participation of our STEM outreach volunteers and provide the recipients with a more complete STEM experience. The proposed solution is the advance preparation of stand-alone kits, complete with a scalable lesson plan, that will fit in a container with the approximate size of a ‘shoebox’ and will be stored and catalogued in the engineering library.
We propose to use our maker-space equipment (laser and 3D printers) to fabricate kits that can be easily assembled on site for student exploration. The associated lesson plan is scalable both in terms of the target age group as well as the time available for the event. The Activity Overview is presented as a matrix where the target age groups are defined as Grades 4-6 (Aware), Grades 7-9 (Assess) and Grades 10-12 (Analyze) the activity time durations are estimated to be 10 minutes (Engage), 30 minutes (Explain) and 60 minutes (Evaluate.) The kit and lesson plan might be used by one of our employees or maybe borrowed by a K-12 teacher.
We have developed a Ramp Racer kit (fabricated from laser cut acrylic), where students can explore the concepts of gravity, speed, and momentum while beginning to understand the potential effects of variables such as mass, slope, and friction. Data collection and graphing are also elements of the exercise, especially in the ‘Evaluate’ phase of the optional levels of immersion in the topic matter. We have discussed this pilot in a focus session with some middle school teachers and have observed the teachers’ application of the kit in the classroom.
The original intent of the kit approach was to facilitate the college of engineering’s collective participation in outreach events. While this is still true, secondary benefits have been the inclusion of more stakeholders at the university (the library and maker space, for instance) and the teachers in the local school districts have had valuable input and looking forward to the collaborative creation of additional kits.
Participation in the ASEE P12 Resource/Curriculum Exchange workshop will allow us to share our experience as well as gain feedback from others searching for tools to make the STEM outreach experience more streamlined for the volunteers and more valuable to the participants.
Lange, D. A., & Beck, D. M., & Hallinen, J. R., & Finger, S., & Jacobson, A. M., & Angemeer, A., & Berard, G. L. (2017, June), STEM in a Shoebox Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28844
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