Carnegie Mellon University
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STEM in a Shoebox

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In the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, our faculty, staff and students are often asked to attend STEM events and visit schools to share STEM content with K-12 math and science classes. Requests are sometimes well in advance of the delivery date but can also be received at the last minute, with little time for adequate preparation. We are exploring a solution to this challenge that will serve to increase the participation of our STEM outreach volunteers and provide the recipients with a more complete STEM experience. The proposed solution is the advance preparation of stand-alone kits, complete with a scalable lesson plan, that will fit in a container with the approximate size of a ‘shoebox’ and will be stored and catalogued in the engineering and science library.

The original intent of the kit approach was to facilitate the College of Engineering’s collective inclusion of more stakeholders at the university (the library and maker space, for instance). In addition, teachers in the local school districts have had valuable input and look forward to the collaborative creation of additional kits.

This paper is primarily about the process of creating a kit and scalable lesson plan that can be used for informal outreach as well as incorporated into larger broader impact initiatives. At Carnegie Mellon, this process has been developed by an interdisciplinary team from the College of Engineering, the Engineering and Science Library, the Engineering Research Accelerator, IdeATe (Integrative Design, Arts and Technology) Lab, and the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach.


Publisher Statement

©2017 American Society for Engineering Education. ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, June 25 - 28, 2017, Columbus, Ohio.