June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Energy Conversion and Conservation
12.1505.1 - 12.1505.12
Traveling Engineering Activity Kits – Energy and the Environment: Designed by College Students for Middle School Students Abstract
A 2005-06 Multidisciplinary Senior Design team created a series of classroom activities designed to teach middle school students about engineering topics related to energy and the environment. This traveling engineering activity kit (TEAK) project consists of five kits, each based on a different energy-related theme: Heat Transfer, Electrical Energy, Wind and Water, Solar Power, and Chemical Energy. Each kit contains an Academic Activity to teach a background concept, a Hands-On Activity to allow students to apply the concepts learned, and a Take-Home Activity that can be done independently at home. The design team also developed instruction manuals suitable for non-engineers, lesson plans, handouts, and post-activity quizzes to assess participants’ learning. To date, the kits have been used by over 100 6th graders as well as dozens more students participating in on-and off-campus outreach programs. This paper describes how and why undergraduate engineering students were involved in designing the TEAK educational tool, including a detailed list of customer needs and design specifications that were defined during their design process. Discussions are also included on the basic TEAK structure, kit descriptions, and assessment results to date.
As the number of retirements in science and engineering and the demand for trained professionals in those fields increases, while enrollment in college degree programs in those fields remains steady, our nation may be facing a shortage of scientists and engineers1. It is important to increase general interest in engineering, and one way to do this is to encourage pre- college students from traditionally underrepresented groups to enter into engineering careers. For example, women make up approximately 50% of the population, yet only represent about 20% of college-aged engineering students2. Women are, however, represented in higher numbers in fields such as Environmental, Biomedical, and Chemical Engineering3. Since these fields seem to hold special appeal for women, it was a natural decision to choose one of them as a topical focus for the present project.
A unique aspect of the Traveling Engineering Activity Kit (TEAK) project was the decision to involve undergraduate students in the design of the activities and accompanying materials, as well as the presentation of the activities to middle school students. Prior studies support this decision, indicating that middle school teachers tend to feel strongly about the importance of design, engineering, and technology, but do not have familiarity with the material4. During the 2005-06 academic year, a team of Multidisciplinary Senior Design (MSD) students set out to design, build, and test a series of hands-on activities intended to increase awareness of and interest in engineering as a field of study. These activities all centered on a theme of how engineering work can be related to energy and the environment. During the 2006-07 academic year, a second team of Software Engineering students is working to design an interactive companion website to the TEAK activities.
DeBartolo, E., & Bailey, M., & Zaczek, M., & Schriefer, T., & Kelley, P., & Ramaswamy, M., & Ryczko, N. (2007, June), Traveling Engineering Activity Kits – Energy And The Environment: Designed By College Students For Middle School Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2158
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