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Trash Sliders: The Latest UVA Engineering Teaching Kit (P12 Resource Exchange)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Curriculum and Resource Exchange

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Larry G. Richards University of Virginia

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Larry G Richards is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia. He leads the Virginia Middle School Engineering Education Initiative, and is active in K 12 outreach and professional development activities locally and nationally. Larry’s research interests include creativity, entrepreneurship, engineering design, innovation, and K-12 engineering education. He is a founding member of the K-12 Division and is a Fellow of ASEE.

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Since 2002 we have been developing Engineering Teaching Kits (ETKs) for use in local middle schools. These ETKs are created by teams of mechanical engineering students, and tested in science and math classes. Over 60 ETKs have been developed; about 20 have been widely distributed and used in schools and summer programs. This presentation will showcase our newest ETK. Trash Sliders introduces middle school students to the fundamentals of engineering design, the concepts of sustainability and upcycling, the basic physics of forces and motions, and the design of suspension systems. Several days of lessons culminate in a final design challenge: student teams design and build a vehicle capable of transporting liquid over rough terrain. The goal is to complete the course with as little spillage as possible. All materials provided for construction of their vehicles are items normally considered trash, in order to emphasize the concept of reuse in promoting sustainability. This ETK has been successfully used in two middle school science classes and two summer programs for high school students. We will provide on-line access to our materials.

Richards, L. G. (2016, June), Trash Sliders: The Latest UVA Engineering Teaching Kit (P12 Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27082

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