Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Pre-College Engineering Education
This work in progress paper describes the organization and execution of a summer engineering camp designed to increase the interest and motivation of middle school students to go into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This camp is part of a seven year grant funded by the Department of Education as part of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEARUP) program. The grant’s overall goal is to help more than 3,000 middle and high school students be more ready for college. This engineering summer camp targets 6 to 12th grade underrepresented students and science teachers. The camp discussed here is one component of the GEAR UP program.
The engineering camp included hands-on field-based engineering experiences, and fieldwork focusing on mechanical and electrical engineering. Some of the activities included building various engineering-related objects such as paper speakers, magnetic cannons, friction bridges, rockets and CO2 cars and then launching them. The students and teachers spent a week preforming real engineering research investigation in collaboration with engineering research faculty from a local university.
Results showed a very high overall satisfaction with the camp activities by the students. The survey results also show the success of the camp and clearly shows student appreciation of learning using hands-on experiences rather than passive ones such as lectures. This aligns with constructivist theories on education where student-centered learning is shown to be more effective. This camp was the first of many similar summer camps to take place over the duration of the project.
Data collection for future camps will involve student interest and parent perceptions about STEM. However, the pilot year focused on ensuring the smooth execution of the camp as well as student satisfaction with the activities presented and the learning outcomes.
Mahmoud, M. M., & Borland, T., & Holst, R. G., & Becker, K. H. (2020, June), WIP: Pilot Evaluation of a Summer Camp to Attract Middle School Students to STEM Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35564
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