Author: Danny Ludovina, Project Coordinator for Engineering in Action
What can someone do with an education in the fields of STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math? Why does learning how to log proper notes, choosing numerical formulas, or shaping structures matter to an elementary school child? We at CommUniverCity had these questions in mind when we first implemented this project years ago, and continue asking these questions about the projects we run currently. We understand that providing first-person accounts to 1st-5th grade students gives critical context to where all their schoolwork can lead.
Engineering in Action bridges generations of students together to provide San José State University student-generated project learning material, but an opportunity for the elementary school students to learn that the problem-solvers of tomorrow are people too. Take the word of a 3rd grade student at Olinder Elementary School on his experience with our event:
“The electricity from lemons have acid. Polymers have atoms that are connected. A magnetic train uses electricity to move through a copper wire that pumps energy back through a tunnel.”
The Engineering in Action program ran in a total of 7 elementary school after-school programs and 1 middle school (6th-8th grade), including 3rd Street Community Center, Lowell Elementary, Anne Darling Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, Olinder Elementary, Empire Gardens Elementary, Peter Burnett Middle School, and McKinley elementary schools; each providing on average 80 1st-5th grade students (40 6th-8th grade students for Burnett).
65% of the elementary school participants indicated on a follow up survey that they are more interested in learning more on science and engineering because of our activities!
Our program is meant to cast a wide net to include as much of the community surrounding San José State University to encourage not only a future education in STEM, but also an education beyond high school to show our community’s children opportunities for a bright future.
Special thanks to the San José Unified School District and the wonderful teachers and schools for allowing us to be a part of their students’ education.