June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.1312.1 - 23.1312.26
Using Educational “Hands-On” Experiential Tools to Introduce Math, Science and Engineering Concepts to K-16 Students (Research to Practice)Earthquakes present dynamic real-world problems to introduce science, technology, engineeringand math (STEM) principles to K-16 students, while underscoring the importance of research inearthquake engineering. This paper discusses the effectiveness of using experiential “hands-on”tools (instructional table-top earthquake simulators, or shaking tables) for advancing these topics.Research questions include: 1) can K-12 students gain an understanding of complex topics thatare typically taught in university level engineering curricula with the shaking table activities, 2)do these activities motivate K-12 students to consider educational and career paths in STEM, 3)can activities be effectively scaled up or down to reach different levels in the K-16 spectrum?Educators from a consortium of top national universities have collaborated to develop hands-onactivities to be used in conjunction with instructional shaking tables to engage and excitestudents about STEM. These tools have been used to introduce complicated topics such asseismology, vibration response, and structural performance and design to students, even at thekindergarten level. Younger students are able to develop and test hypotheses, as well as to buildand test engineering solutions. More advanced students can predict the behavior of structuralsystems by applying concepts of math and physics to develop analytical solutions that can becompared with experiments. The beauty of the activities is that they can utilize shaking tablesthat range from expensive, higher technology simulators to low cost/low technology solutions.Typically the shaking table activities have been used in summer enrichment programs orinformal learning environments such as school visits to university research labs. However,materials have been developed for teachers to use in the classroom to prepare for and follow upon the activities, and many are aligned with state school standards at various grade levels. Forexample, to address the science standards relating to earthquakes in California, some of the K-6activities allow students to build structures made from toothpicks and gumdrops or K’Nex andtest them using shaking tables. At older grade levels, students construct buildings from balsawood and predict the response of the structures. These activities are being used and assessed atmultiple universities around the country for education and outreach.Assessment results show that the activities using shaking tables are effective in engaging K-16students and teachers in STEM and increasing the students’ interests in pursuing STEM careers.Formal assessment tools have been developed to determine that elementary students (K-6) learnsimple earthquake engineering concepts from these activities, and that older studentsdemonstrate increased awareness and understanding of basic engineering principles. K-12students respond positively to questions such as “This activity helped me understand howengineers work to keep people safe” and “After this activity, I know what engineers do.” Otherassessments are open ended such as “What earthquake engineering principles/concepts did youlearn?” In this paper, the assessment tools and results for a variety of these shaking tableactivities will be summarized and discussed.
Doyle, K., & Van Den Einde, L., & French, C. W., & Tremayne, H. A., & Brophy, S. P. (2013, June), Using Educational “Hands-On” Experiential Tools to Introduce Math, Science and Engineering Concepts to K-16 Students (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22696
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