Asee peer logo

Undergraduate Students Teaching Children: K 8 Outreach Within The Core Engineering Curriculum

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Approaches to K -12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1362.1 - 11.1362.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Ayyana Chakravartula University of California-Berkeley

author page

Barbara Ando Lawrence Hall of Science

author page

Cheng Li University of California-Berkeley

author page

Shikha Gupta University of California-Berkeley

author page

Lisa Pruitt University of California-Berkeley

Download Paper |

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

Undergraduate Students Teaching Children: K-8 Outreach within the Core Engineering Curriculum Abstract

Outreach teaching is successfully implemented as a final project in core courses at UC Berkeley within the Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering curricula. These activities have been ongoing since 1997. These courses include Mechanical Behavior of Engineering Materials, Polymer Engineering, and Introduction to Biomaterials Science. These final projects entitled “How Things Break,” “Fantastic Plastic”, and the “Human Body Shop” have been presented to children at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), which is the public science center/museum at the University of California at Berkeley. A recent example, which will be described in this paper, is from a course entitled Structural Aspects of Biomaterials offered to junior and senior- level undergraduate students at UC Berkeley. The students who take the course are traditionally split between the Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering programs. For the past two years, the final project has been to design an exhibit for the Lawrence Hall of Science, based upon topics learned in lecture. These topics vary from specific medical devices (replacement heart valves, total joint replacements) to engineering issues (fatigue and fracture, viscoelasticity). Working in teams, the students research various aspects of their topics and develop lesson plans for the exhibit. In addition to primary lectures by University faculty and researchers, the students receive instruction from LHS science educators and exhibit designers on current practices in communicating science to children and the public. On the exhibit day at LHS, the student teams present activities and demonstrations of their chosen topics as well as age- appropriate literature and assessment activities designed to measure the children’s learning to a target audience of LHS visitors, children ranging in age from 4th to 5th grade who visit the museum. This final project has enormous potential for learning for both the undergraduate students and the younger children. The undergraduate students are given the unique experience of determining how engineering lessons can be most effectively presented while the younger children are exposed to interesting engineering research and applications in a format that is designed to attract and hold their attention. The lively interaction between undergraduates and the visiting children is a rare opportunity for a diverse group of youth to interact with University students, encouraging the children’s interest in pursuing science and engineering as future educational objectives. The goals for this project are described in greater detail in this paper, along with the basic requirements and outcomes.

Chakravartula, A., & Ando, B., & Li, C., & Gupta, S., & Pruitt, L. (2006, June), Undergraduate Students Teaching Children: K 8 Outreach Within The Core Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--762

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015