An Engineering Primer for Outreach to K-4 Education

Theresa M. Swift, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Steve Eugene Watkins, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Student motivation for and proficiency in science and mathematics begin in the early grades. Level-appropriate resources and professional outreach activities are as beneficial for teachers and students at elementary levels as for higher levels. Engineering applications can be effective vehicles for giving students hands-on exposure to technical concepts and for showing students how these concepts relate to everyday life. To improve the technical literacy of society and to promote STEM-related careers, engineers should be engaged in active outreach. However, engineers who seek these types of projects have some learning to do themselves. They must understand the unique elementary education environment and the expectations for lessons and demonstrations. This paper describes the lessons learned by engineering faculty and students from the University of Missouri-Rolla through interaction with local, inservice K-4 teachers. Science and mathematics instruction for elementary education, example lessons for elementary education, and a listing of other available resources are discussed.