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The Tsunami Model Eliciting Activity: Implementation And Assessment Of An Interdisciplinary Activity In A Pre Engineering Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering in Middle Schools

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1476.1 - 12.1476.15



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Paper Authors


Kenneth Reid Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

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Kenneth Reid is an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology. He has a BS in Computer and Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and an MSEE from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Purdue University and working to assess success in first year engineering technology students and implement advanced digital design techniques into early digital courses.

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Christine Floyd Brownsburg East Middle School

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Chris Floyd has been teaching in Brownsburg for 7 years, with the past 5 years at the middle school level. She has been instrumental in piloting and promoting the Project Lead the Way Gateway to Technology program for Brownsburg. In addition to serving as Technology Education Department head, Chris is currently a member of the TECCA (Technology Education Curriculum Crosswalk Activity) project working with the Indiana Department of Education to develop technology activities for the State, and is the IEEE Pre-College Engineering Committee K-12 Liaison.

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

The Tsunami Model Eliciting Activity: Implementation and Assessment of an Interdisciplinary Activity in a Pre-Engineering Course


This paper describes an interdisciplinary pre-engineering activity which was designed and implemented in a seventh grade pre-engineering course. The activity was designed for implementation in combination with Social Studies and Science classes. The activity is a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) where students develop a model to specify requirements and costs for emergency housing after a large scale natural disaster – in this case, the 2004 tsunami. The activity and implementation plan are described in detail. The activity was tied to Indiana state standards in English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. This alignment to standards is discussed.

A qualitative assessment was done after the initial implementation. This assessment focused on two areas including student perception of the activity and changes in student perception of engineering. The results showed that students found the activity valuable and the project enhanced their perception of engineers and engineering as a profession. This initial assessment consisted of student interviews; the answers were evaluated specifically assessing student impressions of the activity itself, the activity in relation to engineering and cultural factors (ie: Social Studies), and changes in student perception of engineering. The paper presents results of these assessments showing the effectiveness of the activity. Results from a post activity survey are included to validate the findings from the student interviews.


“Education in science, mathematics, and technology has become a focus of intense concern within the business and academic communities. The domestic and world economies depend more and more on science and engineering. But our primary and secondary schools do not seem able to produce enough students with the interest, motivation, knowledge, and skills they will need to compete and prosper in such a world.”.1

The results of a society strong in engineering are obvious: automobiles, air travel, telephone and power networks, cell phones, the Internet, MP3 players, and numerous other examples. The National Academies Press report “Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future” describes the importance of advances in engineering and technology as crucial to the social and economic conditions and discusses changes that must occur in the K-12 education system to promote engineering and technology for the United States to compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community in the 21st century. However, middle school students are often unaware of the engineering profession; those students who are aware of engineering often misunderstand the role of engineers in society.

Reid, K., & Floyd, C. (2007, June), The Tsunami Model Eliciting Activity: Implementation And Assessment Of An Interdisciplinary Activity In A Pre Engineering Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1985

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