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Uaspp: Three Years Of Helping Middle School Teachers Devise Their Own Hands On Engineering And Science Activities

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Best Zone Paper Competition

Tagged Division

Council of Sections

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1286.1 - 15.1286.12



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Paper Authors


Carol Gattis University of Arkansas

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Dr. Gattis is the Associate Dean of the Honors College and Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. She formerly served as Director of Recruitment, Retention, Honors and Diversity for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. In this latter role, she directed and developed new programs for the college-wide efforts in recruitment, retention and diversity.

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Shannon Davis University of Arkansas


Bryan Hill University of Arkansas

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Mr. Hill is the Director of Undergraduate Recruitment for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. He manages the college-wide recruitment operation and directs the engineering summer programs.

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Edgar Clausen University of Arkansas

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Dr. Clausen currently serves as Professor, Associate Department Head and the Ray C. Adam Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. His research interests include bioprocess engineering (fermentations, kinetics, reactor design, bioseparations, process scale-up and design), gas phase fermentations, and the production of energy and chemicals from biomass and waste. Dr. Clausen is a registered professional engineer in the state of Arkansas.

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Christa Hestekin University of Arkansas

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Dr. Hestekin is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Her research interests are in the separation of biomolecules, specifically DNA, using microchannel electrophoresis for applications in medicine, agriculture, environmental sciences, and biosecurity.

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Bradley Dearing Illinois State University

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Mr. Dearing is a faculty associate at Illinois State University and teaches Engineering and Technology at the University’s laboratory high school. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees from Illinois State. He has served as President for the Technology Education Association of Illinois and served on the Board of Directors for the past 12 years. He is active in professional research and publications, as well as continuing work towards professional development, state and national standards and curriculum projects.

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

UASPP: Three Years of Helping Middle School Teachers Devise Their Own Hands-on Engineering and Science Activities Shannon G. Davis1, Bryan W. Hill1, Carol S. Gattis2, Bradley M. Dearing3, Christa N. Hestekin4 and Edgar C. Clausen4 College of Engineering1/Honors College2/ Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering4 University of Arkansas Technology Department3, Illinois State University High School


The University of Arkansas Science Partnership Program (UASPP) was developed in 2006 to focus on the professional growth of 6th, 7th and 8th grade science teachers through summer institutes and follow-up activities. Teachers were teamed with engineering faculty to improve teaching skills and to increase the use, understanding and application of hands-on exercises in the classroom. The program has been operational for three years, and has recently received funding from the Arkansas Department of Education to continue for an additional three years.

As UASPP has matured, a number of changes have been made which have had a positive impact on the use of the program activities by the teachers in the classroom. Examples of these changes include movement away from providing experiments to the teachers and toward teacher- developed experiments, the development and use of design-based experiments, and increased use of engineering professors in summer institutes and follow-up activities. This paper highlights program developments and their impacts throughout the three year history of UASPP, and presents the format for new activities as the program moves into its next three years.


The National Science Foundation has recognized the need to introduce engineering and science to students at an early age in order to increase the number of students entering engineering disciplines. However, most students in the middle level grades (6th, 7th and 8th) are unaware of opportunities in engineering and do not recognize engineering as a rewarding career option. Furthermore, research tells us that women and minority students are drastically underrepresented in the engineering fields.1 To more effectively prepare students for engineering and science degrees, K-12 students should be engaged in activities which develop the critical thinking skills necessary for solving problems in the real world. It is universally accepted that all student benefit from hands-on learning activities in the classroom. Studies show that hands-on activities are especially important for English language learners (ELLs), and are therefore an important way to tap this increasingly large and diverse pool of future engineering students. 2, 3, 4

In 2005, the College of Engineering and the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas formed a partnership to assist the Northwest Arkansas Education Renewal Zone (NWA-ERZ) in engaging students in hands-on, standards-based science activities. This University of Arkansas Science Partnership Program (UASPP), funded by the Arkansas

Proceedings of the 2009 Midwest Section Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education

Gattis, C., & Davis, S., & Hill, B., & Clausen, E., & Hestekin, C., & Dearing, B. (2010, June), Uaspp: Three Years Of Helping Middle School Teachers Devise Their Own Hands On Engineering And Science Activities Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16978

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