While some students relaxed over the Thanksgiving break, the Michigan Tech Student Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) was busy spreading the word about engineering as a possible STEM career path. The MTU students conducted a Family Engineering event on November 23 at the Academy of the Americas K-8 school in Detroit. A free pizza dinner for families was provided and students and parents attended three 35-minute activities—designing launchers, creating artistic robots, saving time on the assembly line, and so much more! This event was made possible with a grant from the John Deere Foundation to the Michigan Technological University Center for Science & Environmental Outreach who helped the SHPE chapter prepare for and conduct the event.
To promote STEM career paths for Michigan middle & high school students, grants were provided for teacher professional development and classroom supplies. Seven schools and 16 teachers participated−with each teacher taking home one Family Engineering Activity Guide ($39) and a Family Engineering Starter Kit ($895). Day-long workshops were held in Detroit and Ludington, led by co-author, Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach. Teachers had a lot of fun with the Artistic Robot activity. They are encouraged to host a Family Engineering event at their school sometime during the school year.
See the results of the ArtisticRobot activity in action!
The Foundation for Family Science & Engineering (Portland, OR) partnered with Michigan Technological University to conduct a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Night for a sold-out crowd of 300 teachers from across the country who were attending the 2015 National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) STEM Forum & Expo in Minneapolis, May 20-23. Three of the four co-authors of the Family Engineering Activity & Event Planning Guide published in 2011, facilitated the event—- David Heil of the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering, along with Joan Chadde, Director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, and Neil Hutzler, retired past chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University. Anza Mitchell, president of the MTU student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), also assisted with the event. Mitchell has coordinated two NSBE-sponsored ‘Alternative Spring Break” trips to Detroit where the Family Engineering guide is used to engage elementary children and their families in learning about engineering.
There was standing room only at the Second Annual Family Engineering Night at Henry Ford Elementary School on Thursday, February 12, 2015. Over 300 participants packed the school to work together on engineering challenges that promote creative problem solving, teamwork and communication as they teach families about the role engineering plays in our everyday lives. There were 14 Opener Activities and this years’ Top 5 Family Favorites were: Tumbling Towers, Learning from Failure, Thrill Seekers, Let’s Communicate, and Domino Diving Board. New additions to the event included a Jet Car challenge sponsored by GM and the Society of Automotive Engineers, an electric car brought by DCMST, a Meet the Engineers center and 2 robotics centers.
Participants also tackled a Brain Saver Engineering Challenge. Families followed the Engineering design process : Ask, Imagine, Plan, Design, and Improve to help them create a helmet that would protect the “egghead” as it was dropped from a height of 10 feet. It was incredible to see the variety of designs that were created. You could have heard a pin (or egg) drop as the families gathered together to test their designs. It was inspiring to see families brainstorming ways to improve their helmets so their raw egg would be “saved” the next time. The favorite comment of the night came from Stavros Stanilous,“I look forward to this event all year! I can’t wait until next year.”
Kathleen McCormick, a Science Enrichment teacher at Henry Ford Elementary School and Patricia Hartshorn, a professor in U of M -Dearborn’s Natural Science Department were the event coordinators. Both educators commented on the amazing support the event received from the community.
Thank you to the wonderful Henry Ford Science committee and staff along with all their community partners who helped run this event:
U of M; Dearborn Elementary Education students; Wayne County RESA; Family Engineering Planning Guide; Mahmoud Hijazi, General Motors, and his son Abdu Hijazi; Society of Automotive Engineers ; Ronnie Tront , STEM Educator and robotics expert; U of M–Dearborn, Intelligent Systems Club; Simon Mused, Engineering for Kids; Derek Gee, Ford Motor Company; Bob Mckevett, Ford Motor Company; DCMST instructor Steve Scott and students Mariam Makki, Khansa Alhaidi, Joseph Robinson, Ali Mekled, Sejjad Alkhelby, Anne Holmes, Batoul Abbasi, Fatima Bouhamdan, and Zahra Makki; Erik Tschiggfrey, DPS videographer
And a special thank you to donors: Art Hughes, the Dearborn Farm Market; Henry Ford Staff and Families who donated materials to run the Brain Saver center; U of M–Dearborn’s Natural Science Department; and General Motors Customer Care and Aftersales Division for their generous donation of posters, hot wheels, and calendars. Specifically: Brand Quality Group (Ann Briedis, Jeffrey Strausser and Jessica Paciorek); Aftersales Engineering (Leo Gruzas); CCA Product Development (James Haist)
On January 19th, 2015, the Eugene Public Library in Eugene, OR held a Family Engineering event for local elementary children and their families. About 130 attendees showed up for the “Engineer This!” event, with more than 80 people flooding in within the first several minutes.
The day was coordinated with the University of Oregon’s Science on Demand program, which helps organize science-themed events aimed at preparing students for the next generation of academic science standards.
Students enjoyed engaging in engineering challenges such as “Artistic Robots” and “Assembly Line” which were adapted from the Family Engineering Activity & Event Planning Guide.
After its conclusion, this successful community outreach event was featured in the Eugene Register-Guard newspaper.