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Using Scale Models to Promote Technological Literacy

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

New Approaches and Applications to Enhance Technological Literacy - Part II

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1335.1 - 23.1335.16



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Paper Authors


William R Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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William R. Loendorf is a Full Professor Emeritus of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Ph.D. in Engineering Management at Walden University. He holds a Professional Engineer license and has 30 years of industrial experience as an Engineer or Engineering Manager at General Motors, Cadnetix, and Motorola. His interests include engineering management, technological literacy, improving the competitiveness of American companies, and real-time embedded systems.

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Terence L Geyer Eastern Washington University

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Terence Geyer is the Director of Distance Education in the Department of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He obtained his B.S. in Manufacturing Technology and M.Ed. in Adult Education in a specially combined program of Technology and Education at Eastern Washington University. His interests include collecting and re-manufacturing older technologies.

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Donald C. Richter Eastern Washington University

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DONALD C. RICHTER obtained his B. Sc. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He holds a Professional Engineer certification and worked as an Engineer and Engineering Manger in industry for 20 years before teaching. His interests include project management, robotics /automation and air pollution dispersion modeling.

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Using Scale Models to Promote Technological LiteracyAbstractHumans have created and utilized tools and technologies since the beginning of civilization. Infact, without them it is highly unlikely that humans would have even survived. All of these earlytools and technologies were simple by today’s standards, but absolutely essential nevertheless.They were used to sew clothes, build shelters, provide protection, make food more accessible,and in general make life a bit safer, easier, and tolerable. As time progressed so did thedevelopment of tools and technologies as humans sought solutions to more and more problemsthat plagued them. It was a progression as one tool or technology led to another, which evolvedinto yet another. It created an endless cycle of advancement that is still with us today. However,modern humans are so wrapped up with today’s gadgets that they have lost touch with andforgotten the early technologies that made it all possible. Since most of them were made ofleather, animal tendons, wood, and other items, they have decomposed and been lost over time.Thus leaving only the stone and bone artifacts remaining to be discovered and convey their story.One solution to this unfortunate dilemma is to rebuild them. Recreating the small relics using theoriginal tools and methods is relatively easy but larger items make the task far more difficult.The sheer size of many of these items makes the job extremely challenging, problematic, andundoable. That is where the use of scale models comes in. Exact replicas of large objects can befabricated at a scaled down size to demonstrate how they were originally constructed and used.Two years ago a project was undertaken to do exactly that. Beginning with one scale model, theproject was so successful and well received that it was quickly expanded to include othertechnologies and machines. These scale models average about three feet in length making themsuitable for use in classroom demonstrations. They are extremely mobile and transported onspecially designed Educational Delivery Vehicles (EDVs). They bring the past back to life andgive today’s students a realistic look at ancient technologies in a way that is superior to picturesand textual descriptions. The objective is to enhance the student’s understanding of how and whypast technologies were developed and used. This paper reviews the scale model projectdiscussing what artifacts were reconstructed, how they were made, and looks into the future torelics that can also be built as scale models to promote technological literacy.

Loendorf, W. R., & Geyer, T. L., & Richter, D. C. (2013, June), Using Scale Models to Promote Technological Literacy Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22720

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