June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.1456.1 - 12.1456.12
The Regional Moonbuggy Competition: A Unique, Year-Long Outreach Program to High School Students
This paper describes an innovative and unique engineering outreach activity that is the first of its kind. Not only does this activity encourage high school students to consider engineering as a career path, but it also enables the students to work within an interdisciplinary and gender- inclusive team in order to solve a realistic engineering design problem.
The West Kentucky Regional Moonbuggy Competition, which is going into its third year, is the first-ever regional moonbuggy competition based on the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. In this program, high school students and faculty in math, science, engineering and engineering technology classes are challenged to design and build a human-powered vehicle that addresses a series of engineering problems similar to problems faced by the original designers of the rovers used on the Apollo missions. In order to facilitate this learning experience, two workshops are held for the participants and the culmination of the project is a grueling endurance race over simulated lunar terrain including craters, rocks, inclines and loose soil constructed on the campus of Murray State University.
This paper includes the specifics for organizing and funding such an event including strategies on making such a large-scale event affordable for the schools. Furthermore, results of faculty surveys detail their impressions on how they and their students were impacted by this program.
Given the details of this K-12 outreach program, it is the author’s hope that the readers will be motivated to develop similar outreach activities on their campuses. Whether they choose to organize a moonbuggy competition, collaborate with other national design challenges, or design their own activity, they will be better equipped to fund, organize, and assess a large-scale outreach activity for K-12 students and faculty.
The need for engineering outreach into the K-12 curricula has been well-documented for several years. Engineering outreach into high schools is an important part of K-12 outreach as high school is a time when students make important curricular decisions in order to prepare themselves for postsecondary education. Consequently, engineering outreach activities that motivate students to choose college-preparatory courses appropriate for engineering such as physics and calculus while also developing decision making and teamwork skills are vital.
However, brainstorming, organizing, marketing, funding, and delivering, effective K-12 outreach activities can be an enormous task. The purpose of this paper is to provide some insight into some strategies in each of these planning areas in the context of a large-scale, year-long outreach activity.
Rogers, J., & Cobb, S. (2007, June), The Regional Moonbuggy Competition: A Unique, Year Long Outreach Program To High School Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1478
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