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Using K'nex To Stimulate Interest In Engineering At A Summer Camp For Middle School Students

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.615.1 - 3.615.8

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Paper Authors

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Lara Relyea

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Joan A. Burtner

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

Session 1692

Using K'NEX to Stimulate Interest in Engineering at a Summer Camp for Middle School Students

By Joan Burtner, Lara Relyea Mercer University/Southwest High School

ABSTRACT For the past two years, the Mercer University School of Engineering and the Office of Undergraduate Admission have jointly sponsored a summer engineering camp for teens. The camp is named ESCAPE (Engineering Summer Camp Advocating Professions in Engineering). The ESCAPE program features hands-on activities and is designed for middle school students who excel in science or math. This paper focuses on the use of K’NEX construction sets in the camp’s team building and engineering design labs.

INTRODUCTION A growing number of engineering schools are offering summer engineering camps for middle and high school students. For many schools, the main purpose is to stimulate interest in engineering as a career, as well as to encourage students to take advanced math and science courses in high school. In addition, camps promote school/community awareness and good will.

In the past few years a variety of engineering schools have reported on their successful summer engineering camp programs.

Florida Atlantic University started a small summer enrichment program for high school students in 1983. The coeducational week long residential program now serves over 100 middle and high school students. 1

Holland 2 reports that, in the summer of 1994, Texas A &M first offered GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science). GEMS is a program for eleven year old girls designed to increase the chance that the participants will eventually follow careers in science engineering and math.

As part of the TIDEE (Transferable Integrated Design in Engineering Education) program, Tacoma Community College and the University of Washington teamed together in 1995 to offer a two week long summer camp for 20-25 freshman and sophomore high school students. The first week of this program is a day camp; the second week is residential. 3

Mills 4 writes about a civil engineering technology class offered as part of Western Kentucky University's two-week long program called "Summer Camp for Academically Talented Junior High School Students".

Mattmuller 5 describes a three-day summer mini-camp designed to introduce high school

Relyea, L., & Burtner, J. A. (1998, June), Using K'nex To Stimulate Interest In Engineering At A Summer Camp For Middle School Students Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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