Inspiring the Next Engineering Generation

Everyday Engineering: Stem @ Home

Use supplies around the house to teach kids about engineering.

 Blog 

STEM Outreach Through YouTube

“Umm … psychology, computer science or biology!”

This was my exact response in my senior year of high school when my principal asked the age-old question, “What do you want to major in for college?”

He was thrilled to hear that I had some ideas for what I wanted to do. But what he didn't know was that I’d just binge-watched “Lie to Me,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “House” the previous week.

With a screen at everyone’s fingertips, there are now more personalized and influential platforms that are helping this next generation make their decisions (including what major to choose). And it’s not Netflix.. It’s YouTube.

  Documentary  

Dream Big: Engineering Our World

The film is available on Netflix and can also be obtained from Vimeo for $6.99 for a 48-hour period of time or $13.99 to view and download anytime.

  Article  

What toys inspired you to be a civil engineer?

How do toys inspire future engineers? Read the experiences from these ASCE members.

  Article 

Active Learning Helps Diverse Groups with STEM Subjects

How does active learning in STEM reduce achievement gaps?



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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!  



    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-06-2020 10:06 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 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?

    ------------------------------
    Jeannine Finton Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager of Pre-College Outreach
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------



  • 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.


    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 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

    ------------------------------
    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
    ------------------------------



  • 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

    ------------------------------
    Katherine Scancarello P.E., M.ASCE
    Graduate Geotechnical Engineer
    AECOM
    Providence RI
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 05-14-2020 04:10 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 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: [email protected] 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.

    ------------------------------
    Jeannine Finton Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager of Pre-College Outreach
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 02-24-2021 03:22 PM
    Thank you @Danielle Schroeder for starting this thread. It's great to hear about these STEM activities! We will be discussing this topic more on Thursday, February 25th during our virtual roundtable series Thursdays @ 3. I hope you can join us! You can register here. ​

    ------------------------------
    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 03-17-2021 09:24 AM
    Dani,
    I love the topic! As someone who has helped mentor high school students over the years, we have used several different examples to keep the students engaged in the topics.
    • Build the tallest tower you can with newspaper and tape. (Similar to your Slender Tower challenge)
    • Build a suspension bridge out of 2 rulers, 4 pencils, 3' of string, 8 paperclips, a cardboard box, and 2' of tape. The bridge has to support 2 Hot Wheel cars and the main span needs to be tall enough above the table surface to allow a tennis ball to roll under the main span. (This one is obviously one of my favorites, as a bridge engineer)
    • Build the tallest tower with a pack of playing cards only. (This one is always interesting to see how students think outside of the box)
    • Build a mechanism that will putt a golf ball accurately and reliability into a hole 2' away, using a pencil, paperclip, 1' of string, a ruler, a spring, and 2' of tape. (This one is more challenging, but leads to very different designs)
    It is amazing how much engagement and participation that can happen with some hands-on, semi-competitive activities like these.

    ------------------------------
    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: What is your favorite STEM outreach hands-on activity?

    Posted 03-18-2021 06:48 PM
    When I used to help out at summer camps at my alma mater (Rowan University), hands down the most popular project for both boys and girls, in both grade school and high school, was the bottle rocket challenge.

    This event focuses on the parametric design process (changing one parameter at a time to find an optimum design) using soda bottles, poster-board fins, and clay weight for the nose. Kids then filled the rockets with different amounts of water, and were able to launch some in excess of 300 feet.

    The only relatively special equipment one may need is a tank of compressed air, and the launching mechanism (a tube to place in the bottle rocket and a valve to release the air into the bottle to displace the water.)

    ------------------------------
    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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