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.
The Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, along with the Michigan Technological University (MTU) Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers student chapter, conducted a Family Engineering Night at Escuela Avancemos Academy in Southwest Detroit on Nov. 24, 2014. John Deere provided support for the event which featured activities in both English and Spanish and offered a free dinner. Approximately 180 participated–including grades K-5 students and families.
Students & families designed helmets (Brain Saver), towers to withstand high winds (Windy Towers), a prosthetic hand made of plastic spoons, rubber bands, and craft sticks (Give Me A Hand), and launchers that catapulted cotton balls (Launcher), as well as, participated in more than a dozen short hands-on activities in the cafeteria.
“The families loved it,” observed school principal Carlos Lopez. “All we heard from the kids the next day was how much they enjoyed engineering night!”
The following Michigan Tech students and college graduates presented at the event:
El Centro Tecnológico de Michigan para la Ciencia y Medio Ambiente de Extensión, junto con el capítulo estudiantil de la Universidad Tecnológica de Michigan (MTU ) de la Sociedad de Ingenieros Profesionales Hispanos , llevó a cabo una Noche Familiar de Ingeniería en la Escuela Avancemos Academia el 24 de noviembre. John Deere proporcionado apoyo para el evento que contó con actividades tanto en Inglés y Español y se ofreció una cena gratis. Aproximadamente 180 participaron - incluyendo los grados K - 5 estudiantes y familias.
Estudiantes y Familias Los cascos diseñados ( Cerebro Saver) , torres para soportar vientos fuertes ( Vientos Towers ), una prótesis de mano hecha de cucharillas de plástico , bandas elásticas, y palitos de madera ( Give Me A Hand) , y los lanzadores que catapultaron bolas de algodón ( Launcher ) , así como más de una docena de manos cortas sobre las actividades en la cafetería.
Los siguientes estudiantes Michigan Tech y graduados universitarios presentó en el evento :
• Uzi Méndez '13 (Ingeniería Biomédica )
• Michael Briseño ( Biomédica e Ingeniería Eléctrica ), estudiante de pregrado
• Zoe Miller (Ingeniería Civil), estudiante de maestría
• Gabriella Shirkey '13 ( Comunicación Científica y Técnica )
Earlier this year, the Foundation for Family Science & Engineering provided a professional development workshop for educators, college students, and community partners in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state. So far, that one, hands-on workshop, which trained 45 volunteers on the Family Engineering program, has led to multiple workshops and events designed to expose more children and families to the hands-on fun of science and engineering exploration, strengthen STEM skills, and inspire more students to pursue STEM-related careers.
The original workshop was sponsored by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). PNNL is a co-founder of the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory, which sponsored the activities highlighted below.
Family Engineering Event, May 2014: After warming up with Opener activities, such as “Tumbling Towers” and “Learning From Failure,” 95 local family members tested their engineering skills to build a moveable “Artistic Robot” using a plastic cup, tongue depressors, markers, masking tape, a rubber eraser, and a motor.
Professional Development Workshop, Summer 2014: More than 20 middle school teachers from Ochoa Middle School attended a half-day seminar, “Exploring the STEM Toolbox: Family Engineering” where presenters from PNNL, assisted by students and alumni from Delta High School, helped the teachers explore engineering activities and connections to Next Generation Science Standards.
Summer STEM Enrichment for Local Students: Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities MESA and the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Colalboratory teamed up to provide a summer STEM event for K-12 boys and local Girl Scouts in Pasco, WA which included Family Engineering Openers and an Engineering Challenge activity. Sponsors reported that the students demonstrated perserverance through the engineering design process, and enjoyed working together to master each challenge.
Family Engineering Event, August 2014: PNNL staff members and their children attended a summer STEM event focused on “Simple Machines and Paper Engineering.” The day’s core activity was Family Engineering’s “Create a Critter,” which was perfectly suited for the theme of the day.