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The Smarte Enrichment Projects: Laboratory Based Learning For 8 Th Grade Students

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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

2.426.1 - 2.426.9



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Paper Authors

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Mulchand S. Rathod

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Joella H. Gipson

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

Session 1547

THE SMARTE ENRICHMENT PROJECTS: LABORATORY BASED LEARNING FOR 8TH GRADE STUDENTS Mulchand S. Rathod Joella H. Gipson Division of Engineering Technology College of Education Wayne State University Detroit, MI 48202


The Southeast Michigan Alliance for Reinvestment in Technological Education (SMARTE) is a consortium of community colleges, school systems, Wayne State University (WSU), and businesses in southeast Michigan formed in September 1993. The alliance exists to promote communication and cooperation among its partners to address mutual needs pertaining to education of the technological workforce. The specific mission of this virtual center is to collaboratively focus on restructuring product design curricula and teaching practices with authentic activities in an application mode.

In the fast changing world of science and technology, there exists a need for an integrated educational experience for middle school students so that students and their parents appreciate the fact that technical education provides viable career opportunities. Students at the middle school level should be nourished to become talented technicians, technologists, and engineers as they proceed into the world of technological development. One of the important activities of the consortium is to organize enrichment activities of middle school students. A curriculum is designed for 8th grade students. In a lab based setting, CAD/CAM, computers and programming, engineering principles, and electrical/electronics are taught jointly by a team of faculty from community college, university, and middle school.

A total of 62 students participated in pilot settings of three sessions. One program was organized over two consecutive Saturdays at Oakland Community College (OCC) and a similar program for a different group of students was organized at Schoolcraft College. A two week long session for a third group of students was offered at WSU. This paper shares the curriculum components, students learning, laboratory setting, students’ perceptions of technical curricula, and lessons learned. Additionally, this brief report identifies outcomes of this enrichment activity for 8th grade students.


According to the 1986 report, A Nation Prepared, there is a direct link between economic growth in the United States and the skills and abilities of the people who contribute to that growth [4]. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, under represented groups, including women, will represent nearly 70% of the new entrants into the labor force by the year 2000 [5,6]. Population projections indicate that the non-white racial/ethnic groups will constitute an increasing percentage of the total US population. Demographic realities indicate an urgent need for intervention to assist and promote the representation of all people and especially under represented ethnic/racial groups and women in careers that contribute to society through education, creation of new learning environments, and transfer of skills to future generations.

In the areas of science, engineering, and technology, Public Law 99-383 gives special, directed purpose for increasing the representation of under represented groups. The task force established under the auspices of the legislation reported the following: America faces a shortfall of scientists and engineers by the year 2000; and these shortfalls can only be met by utilizing all of our nations’s talent, i.e., women and under represented ethnic/racial groups [7].


Rathod, M. S., & Gipson, J. H. (1997, June), The Smarte Enrichment Projects: Laboratory Based Learning For 8 Th Grade Students Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6786

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