Engineering in Action (EIA) introduces engineering topics to elementary students in a fun and engaging way. It’s a place where SJSU students can bring out their creative side and elementary students can interact with different activities while learning. It’s not only important to teach young students about STEM education, but to also develop a college going culture. EIA brings those two goals together in an exciting and interactive way. EIA is able to take place with the help of professors Michael Oye, Emi Ishida, Santosh KC and Ozgur Keles, along with the aid of after-school programs Think Together and CORAL.
Materials engineering students go to different elementary schools for two hours during their after-school programs to present on topics including optics, conductivity, mechanical properties, and much more. Within this time six to seven SJSU groups will lead activities they have created based on their topic. The elementary students rotate between these groups throughout the two-hour period, giving them an opportunity to engage and interact with each topic. Within the two-hour timeframe, the students learn about six different engineering topics and meet many college students.
Both SJSU and elementary students benefit from EIA in various ways. SJSU students have the opportunity to engage with the community and inspire the next generation of college students. They get to practice how to explain technical terms to non-technical people. They also gain experience on how to interact with young children and learn how to teach a concept in a creative yet informative way. The elementary students have the chance to interact with SJSU students and learn about college life and engineering and become inspired to attend college themselves.
In past semesters, EIA has gone to several different elementary schools including Lowell Elementary and Anne Darling Elementary. This semester’s plan was to go to six elementary schools, but due to COVID-19 the school portion of the project was unfortunately cancelled. SJSU students are still creating their activities that will be delivered using other methods. And although the project will not provide the elementary students with that face to face interaction with SJSU students, alternative options are being explored for reinforcing a college-going culture and further benefitting the elementary students.