Summer 2020 provided the motivation and opportunity to move summer outreach programs into the virtual world. Faculty and students in the Purdue University School of Engineering Technology moved face-to-face programs into a middle school program called Techie Times. This program was designed to provide students with an organized platform occurring just before the school year started, allowing them to learn at home, working with family, or independently. The program was designed to take place nonconsecutively over eight days, covering five various STEM topics. Some of these activities were already a part of the middle school curriculum; others were not. That provided an opportunity to engage students and teach them principles that support various engineering technology curricula. Students were recruited from across the country. Students were placed into three cohorts sorted by biological age and then into smaller groups to enhance interactions. Volunteers moderated the smaller groups representing corporate engineering retirees, university professors, and others interested in helping. The volunteers were provided with information to support the principles being learned in the activity of the day. They asked the students to demonstrate what they did at home and then asked them questions about what they learned from the activity. In the older age groups, volunteers generated hypotheses and tested them to see if they worked, thus providing a challenge for the older and more experienced students. This camp proved to be well-timed on the summer calendar. Parents expressed their pleasure in their students becoming a bit more disciplined as they transitioned from their summer activities to the upcoming school year. This paper will review the program’s curriculum, observations by the parents/guardians, and feedback from the students. The program is an example of a well-transformed outreach program that engaged and enlightened students.
Middle school, summer outreach, virtual, engagement, engineering technology
Date of this Version
Tedeschi, B. D., Miller, J. K., Lucietto, A. M., & Denton, N. L. (2021, July). The Development of Techie Times. In 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access.