Work in Progress - Instrumentation on a Truss Adapted for Pre-college Outreach
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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.