Engineering content is a valuable addition to pre-college instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) since it applies scientific concepts, illustrates scientific relevance and technology, and provides measurement opportunities. Also, complex systems and interactions can be shown. This work describes outreach resources using a seven-member instrumented truss apparatus. This aluminum bench-top model is scaled to support up to fifty pounds. Electrical resistance gauges are installed on several members for strain measurement. The resource set includes the truss apparatus, instrumentation, a PowerPoint presentation, and a background document. The pre-college objective is a set of demonstration resources for middle or high school classrooms. Effective outreach design is modeled by tailoring to accommodate curriculum standards, level-appropriate concept terms, and grade continuity. The resources were developed by students in an interdisciplinary college class on sensors and structures. The development activities involved testing the models and measurements and refining the construction. Selected resources were implemented and evaluated in a local middle school classroom. The interdisciplinary content includes structural, force analysis, sensing, and measurement components.

Meeting Name

38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, 2008


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Second Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Third Department

Mining and Nuclear Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Composites; Engineering Outreach; Instrumentation; Pre-College Education; Science Curriculum; Sensors

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2008 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

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