Asee peer logo

Techtronics Ii

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1094.1 - 8.1094.9

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Lynn Wang

author page

Paul Klenk

author page

Gary Ybarra

Download Paper |

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

Session 2793


Paul A. Klenk, Lynn H. Wang, Gary A. Ybarra Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, Durham, NC


Techtronics: Hands-On Exploration in Everyday Life, is an after school program in engineering education designed for middle school students. A joint venture between the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University and Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, North Carolina, and funded by a three year grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Techtronics seeks to stimulate intellectual curiosity in engineering through exposure to four engineering disciplines: civil, mechanical, electrical and computer, and biomedical engineering. For each unit, students typically work in groups of three to five to complete a project under the guidance of one of five undergraduate Pratt Engineering student teachers. A graduate student coordinates each team of undergraduate teaching fellows. In Techtronics I, students build balsa wood bridges, programmable robots, heart monitors, and solar powered devices. In Techtronics II, returning and new students are participating in an entirely new curriculum during the 2002-2003 academic year. Techtronics II is comprised of approximately half returning students and half new students. Though some students have been lost, the 50% return rate of students from last year’s program suggests that the program is meeting its goals to provide a stimulating creative outlet for students with interest in science and engineering. In Techtronics II, returning and new students use computer-aided design (CAD) to test their civil engineering designs before building them in groups, compete in a group setting on the Lego Robotics Mars Rover project, and build AM radio kits. This paper provides an overview of the new structure of the Techtronics program and details the new hands-on, group-oriented modules used in Techtronics II.


The Techtronics program, funded by a three year grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, places undergraduate and graduate level engineering students into the classroom teaching engineering education to students at Rogers Herr Middle School in Durham, North Carolina. The program is a part of the K-PhD program at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering1. Techtronics began as a pilot program during the 2001-2002 academic year with one class of approximately 20 middle school students that met once a week. In its second year, the program has doubled in size to two separate classes: Techtronics I has approximately 20 sixth graders and Techtronics II is comprised primarily of 7th and 8th graders, many of whom are returning students. Undergraduate and graduate level engineering students have been used in middle school classrooms in engineering outreach classrooms at other institutions including the University of Colorado at Boulder2, the University of Texas at El Paso3, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology4.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Wang, L., & Klenk, P., & Ybarra, G. (2003, June), Techtronics Ii Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015