SEE WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
JMU SWE hosted our first-of-its-kind High School Engineering Outreach toady. We had a great time with all the girls that came out, some from as far as an hour and a half away. The event went from 9:00am check-in to 3:30pm sign-out, and was packed full of interesting activities.
We began the morning with some breakfast snacks and an interesting presentation by a JMU professor and professional SWE member, about her experiences and development in engineering. The students then broke into small groups for an ice breaker and a couple design challenges. These included creating a structure to protect an egg from a falling softball, and designing a foot-long bridge for different sized balls to pass over, one table to another. Designs were made from materials such as pipe cleaners, straws, newspaper, pencils, spoons, popsicle sticks, and stickers. We repeated each activity, changing up groups and materials to generate different results. Congratulations to those who managed to protect their egg and roll the balls across their bridge!
Lunch came next, with collegiate SWE members and a couple engineering professors mixing with high school students, talking about anything from engineering to college to random interests. Engaging discussions started all around the room and continued for about an hour. We then hit several engineering labs in a row, taking a tour around the building. In the Circuits Lab students used a breadboard to make a light blink and a noise beep. The Advanced Thermofluids Lab displayed a fascinating heart simulator used in student research. The Mechanics Lab demonstrated how their machines could exert and measure force on an object, snapping several pieces of glass and bending a bar of steel for our enjoyment.
The last part of our day consisted of snacks and a student panel of engineers from each year of the university answering questions from high school students. Lots of questions were asked, and the answers were very helpful and informative. After a final word of closing, students packed up their gift bag of safety glasses, notebook and pen, and information brochures, and went home. Feedback revealed that everyone enjoyed the day and learned about engineering; several students remarked on an interest in engineering as a result of the event. Thanks to the JMU and SWE students and professors who came out to help!
Feel free to post any comments or suggestions for this or future events!