Author: Monica Serrano
This semester CommUniverCity’s time-honored Engineering in Action program brought together over 200 engineering students from the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering and over 400 elementary students from after-school programs and youth centers in the Downtown San Jose area. The engineering students eagerly showcased their projects to educate, engage and motivate these young children in STEM education and careers.
The Engineering in Action series of workshops took place on Friday, November 13th, Thursday November 19th and Friday, November 20th. Forty-nine groups of the Materials Engineering 25 and 153 classes visited the CORAL,ThinkTogether, McKinley Youth Center and Third Street Community Center after school programs. The materials engineering students prepared projects from a variety of different topics such as ceramics, diffusion, mechanical properties, magnetic properties, and a host of other subjects. Children from kindergarten to fifth grade had the opportunity to get their hands on fun-filled projects.
The workshops ran from one and a half hour to two hours, where students created a 20 minute, hands-on experiment on related materials engineering topics in their course. K-5th grade students rotated from project to project around the tables in school cafeterias and halls at youth centers. The experiments engaged the students both in theory and in engineering. The projects emphasized how engineers build on science to make a product or process and how engineers optimize a product or process by iterating through a design process. Some of the children were able to take some of their experiments home to show their parents.
The young children walked anxiously to see all the fun projects that awaited them in the cafeterias and classrooms. The engineering students were surprised to see how interested and engaged the elementary children were during the demonstrations. One student expressed how he was surprised to hear some really educated guesses coming from the children.
Special thanks to Dr. Guna Selvaduray, Dr. Raj Venkatesh, Dr. Michael Oye and Dr. Christina Peters for integrating this service learning project. This project would not have been made possible without their help and wonderful students.