Discussion Thread

What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

  • 1.  What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-05-2020 12:12 PM

    As we can't schedule in-person outreach activities right now, my fellow K-12 Outreach co-chair and I are assessing new hands-on activities to be used at future school visits. What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Our favorite that we used frequently this past year is the "Slender Tower Challenge" which involves building the tallest tower they can with the smallest footprint possible, using only the materials provided. The materials for this activity are pretty cheap (recyclable paper, scissors, and tape) and it can be modified fairly easily depending on the age range of your audience. More information on the activity can be found here: https://www.discovere.org/our-activities/single-activity-detail/Slender%20Tower%20Challenge

    Excited to read about your favorite STEM outreach activities!  



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    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 2.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-06-2020 10:06 AM
    Hi Dani--Do you think that you could do a short video of yourself, or someone from Philly, doing that activity so we could share it in the Everyday Engineering list? It has to be 2-minutes or less. Let me know and we can discuss what's needed.

    I definitely think that schools are going to be hypervigilant next year, and in-classroom activities limited. However, schools are reaching out to ASCE and are very interested in virtual visits.

    I'm daydreaming right now, but maybe we work it out so that ASCE members drop off an activity kit a few days before the virtual visit. Let's say it's Slender Tower Challenge. This would mean dropping off some paper, maybe tape and rulers as well. On the day of the visit, we log in with the class, do an introduction to the activity, and then let the students go to work. The engineer(s) remains online in case anyone has questions. After so many minutes (arranged with the teacher in advance) the class comes back together for the wrap-up. Who knows--if the teacher has something like an iPad they might be able to wander the room and show what the students are doing just as though the engineer was in the class.

    I think this might work! What do you think?

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    Jeannine Finton Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager of Pre-College Outreach
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    jfinton@...
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  • 3.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-07-2020 08:14 AM
    I would love to record a video for this series! We have our #AskanEngineer initiative for the next ​two weeks, but I can get to recording this after that first video goes live. We can chat about this more offline.

    I definitely agree that COVID-19 is going to affect K-12 Outreach for the next school year (contingent that schools even are opened again in 2020). I love this virtual visit idea! I think that the general layout sounds good too. For the timing part, even for in-person visits, we use an online timer like https://www.timeanddate.com/timer/ so that kids can always know how much time they have left which the engineer can accomplish by a screen share. I will definitely miss the in-person and being able to walk by a group and listen in on their team conversations so that iPad idea could be awesome, but either way, we will learn to adapt!

    From our #AskanEngineer video calls and the YouTube video we are compiling, the silver lining of people not having to travel to the event has led to an uptick in volunteers. For our call later today, we have 6 civil engineers ranging from careers in stormwater, to transportation, to geotechnical to structural which will be amazing for the kids in attendance to hear about the diverse backgrounds all under the umbrella under Civil Engineering.


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    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 4.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-13-2020 02:59 PM
      |   view attached
    Perhaps you might invite some women project managers who share their successes and challenges as
    project managers from across our planet!

    "The Perspective of Women Project Management Professionals" is a book of interviews with distinguished women project management professionals,
    from seventeen countries, who have shared their fascinating personal career stories. The interviews highlight the challenges, roadblocks, issues
    and risks facing most people on projects, and emphasize the reality of gender bias."

    Stay Healthy!

    Cheers,
    Bill

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    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
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  • 5.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-14-2020 10:31 AM
      |   view attached
    We often use a soil water filtration activity at STEM events and during mentoring programs. The students actively engage and they have the opportunity to try several combinations of soils to filter the water. We combine the activity with a discussion of stormwater runoff and methods to reduce impermeable footprints. The activity involves a 2-liter bottle, different soil media (sand, pea gravel, clay, well graded landscape mix, topsoil, etc.), and dirty water. We look at water clarity and the time it takes to filter.  The ASCE Orange County Branch has a detailed demonstration video on YouTube:     https://youtu.be/ZNyhY9dR2VE

    Be Well,

    Katie Scancarello PE
    Geotechnical Engineer, AECOM
    Rhode Island ASCE YMG Chair-Elect
    Providence, RI

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    Katherine Scancarello P.E., M.ASCE
    Graduate Geotechnical Engineer
    AECOM
    Providence RI
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  • 6.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-14-2020 04:10 PM
    Thanks for sharing this Katie! We've just posted a similar activity, Water Pollution Clean Up, to the Everyday Engineering: STEM@Home materials. I'm going to share the link to the Orange County Branch video as part of the activity support. We've just posted a new video showing the activity with more of an open-ended engineering design process focus at https://youtu.be/2ECWkCP7cqw.

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    Jeannine Finton Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager of Pre-College Outreach
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    jfinton@...
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