June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Over the summer, Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Engineering and a local youth center host an engineering day camp for rising sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to explore engineering and innovation. Students in this 5-day program develop an idea for an invention, explore the science behind it and existing products relevant to the idea, develop a budget for building the invention, build it, and present their ideas at an end-of-camp pitch session. On day two, students come to the library. They use both library and open web resources to find information about the science, about related products on the market, and (as time permits) to gather prices for parts of their inventions. The library’s involvement has evolved as the librarians have learned about what information and activities are effective for a middle school audience. Some of these lessons apply to any teaching situation – e.g. active learning is generally more effective than pure lecture. Other lessons learned are specific to this context and age group. Because middle schoolers are developmentally different from older children and young adults and because camp is different from school, simply adapting classroom activities did not fully address the needs of the campers.
Other challenges to the library’s participation in this summer program related to sometimes conflicting aims within the missions and visions of the university and the library. While both the university and its libraries consider the community in their goals and plans, they are designed as organizations for higher education. Given limited resources, service to primary and secondary students, even in a university-affiliated program, could come into conflict with the core needs of university students, faculty, and staff.
Arendt, J., & Hargraves, R. H., & Roseberry, M. I. (2017, June), University Library Services to Engineering Summer Campers Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29060
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