Big Book Winners!

BigBookCoverLast week, you had the opportunity to win a free copy of The Big Book of Engineering Challenges by sharing a strategy on my Facebook contest thread that you use to get students interested in learning more about engineering or STEM careers.

And the winners are…

Not many people entered so I’m giving a book away to everyone who posted something!

A big **Thank You!** to those who participated.

Below are the strategies posted by your peers:

  1. We’ve been doing engineering design challenges for many years as part of our NIU STEM Outreach programs. One strategy that we use is to embed the challenge within a narrative that students can relate to. In short, storytelling where they determine the outcome by their ingenuity.
  2. SAME hosts engineering camps through the academies for high school students. Lets them have a chance for hands-on experience & also to network with kids their age from across the country & different backgrounds so they learn why others have an interest in engineering.
  3. Sometimes making it known that scholarships are available helps those who are worried about the cost of an engineering education.
  4. Getting kids, particularly a small group, together working a project that relates closely with another area of interest to them (designing/building a musical instrument, if interested in music, & then discussing how it could be put into wider production, can show how engineering ties into essentially everything we do.
  5. Provide information (such as from the Engineering Education Service Center) to school guidance counselors about engineering careers, particularly in areas underserved for STEM support.
  6. With the parents’ permission, of course, take the student to your workplace (&, if possible, project) to let them see what you do, how you do it, meet & talk with co-workers & then see the project in progress.
  7. Work with the student on a project that directly contributes to her community. Perhaps team with a local school & develop the project idea with their teachers, so some of the in-class experience can support the project too.
  8. I assign fun and relevant engineering challenges for my 7th grade science class every chance I get. Last one was to build an human arm while studying muscular and skeletal systems. We then watched videos and read articles about how engineers develop prosthetics. I believe feeling like an engineer makes engineering careers more approachable for middle schoolers.
  9. I like to teach new vocabulary or present a real world issue to my students then have them come up with ways to fix it. They’re currently trying to build water filters to clean polluted water. A few weeks ago we were learning about buoyancy and density. They designed boats, we sunk them then discussed why some sunk faster than others. They LOVE STEM!
  10. Teaming with another teacher in the school to help the kids develop an engineering solution to an issue in that other subject areas, such as some event in history — find a different way to solve it than what actually happened.
  11. Just to talk with students about engineering + why it’s important.

Lots of good suggestions here.

Win a Book!

BigBookCoverWin a free copy of The Big Book of Engineering Challenges by sharing a strategy on my Facebook contest thread that you use to get students interested in learning more about engineering or STEM careers. We are giving away five books. The winners will be chosen at random. You can enter once per day. Winners will be announced on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Note: For every 100 comments, I will give away an additional five books! Increase your chance of winning by inviting your friends and colleagues to participate!

Comment: https://www.facebook.com/engineeringcareers

Book Give-Away Distribution

ITAEIY4_300x450If you missed the opportunity to get a free copy of Is There an Engineer Inside You?, you’ll have to wait until next year – unless you are one of the lucky ones who attends an event sponsored by one of our book give-away partners.

We are currently in the second year of a five year program to freely distribute 100,000 books. Books have been shipped all over the world and are also available as a free download on many partner’s websites.

In the 2013-2014 school year, about 8000 books were distributed.

This year, the numbers are already better! I am forecasting that almost 16,000 books will be distributed and downloaded – a 100% increase! There are 17 partners working hard to promote engineering education and this effort will undoubtedly reach more students, teachers, counselors, and parents.

If you have a special program and wish to receive books next year, watch for my 100K Book Give-Away announcement this Spring and jump in with your request/application.

2014-2015 EESC Distribution

  1. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (200 books)
  2. Global STEM Education Center (50 books)
  3. Nicholson STEM Academy (144 books)
  4. Reading High School (1 book)
  5. Everett Public Schools (2 books)
  6. Raisbeck Aviation High School (64 books)
  7. Rockingham Middle School (40 books)
  8. Bio-Med Academy (16 books)
  9. Penn Manor High School Engineering Club (100 books)
  10. Casa Verde High School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (30 books)
  11. Muscatine Community School District (40 books)
  12. Timberlane Regional High School (1 book)
  13. Hampton City Schools (18 books)
  14. Meadow Hill Middle School (15 books)
  15. Robbins AFB, GA (20 books)
  16. Union Public Schools (15 books)
  17. Affton High School – Future Strong STEM night (80 books)
  18. Assumption School (1 book)
  19. St. Cloud Area School District 742 (12 books)
  20. Syracuse University (40 books)
  21. Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering (6 books)
  22. Northampton Community College (10 books)
  23. Futureintech (20 books)
  24. Wichita State University, STEMpact2020 (40 books)

2014-2015 Book Give-Away Partners

My thanks and gratitude go to the Official National Partners that banded together to put this book in the hands of thousands of students. Each partner is giving away 300 books plus their websites are great places to visit and get a free download.

  1. Auburn University
  2. Boston Society of Civil Engineers
  3. Christian Brothers University
  4. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
  5. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  6. Louisiana Tech University
  7. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  8. Northwestern State University
  9. Prefreshman Engineering Program, The University of Texas at San Antonio
  10. Purdue University
  11. Rowan University
  12. SeaPerch
  13. Society of Women Engineers, Tulsa Northeast Oklahoma Section
  14. Tulsa Public Schools
  15. University of Evansville
  16. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  17. Weber State University

 

Still Time to Get Free Books for your STEM Program

Is There an Engineer Inside You?The books arrived yesterday! A big semi pulled up and two pallets of books were dropped off.

These are books that you can request for your STEM or engineering program.

There is no charge. It’s first-come first-serve. Even the shipping to you is covered.

It’s part of the 100,000 Book Give-Away. The seventeen colleges and organizations that chipped-in want all students to understand the potential of an engineering degree or career. They know that an engineering education is one of the best a person can get and they want to share their positive feelings, thoughts and attitudes. They want to see students get informed and succeed. One Dean of an engineering school told me, “It’s the right thing to do.”

I’m not alone – they are each giving away books and most also have the book on their website for students to freely download.

If you are a recipient of books for your students, please don’t forget to thank the partners!

The 2014 Book Give Away was Made Possible By the Colleges and Organizations Below

Christian Brothers University Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Missouri University of Science and Technology Tulsa Public Schools Boston Society of Civil Engineers University of Tennessee Knoxville Seaperch Northwestern State University Rowan University Louisiana Tech University University of Texas San Antonio Purdue University University of Evansville Auburn University Society of Women Engineers Indiana University Purdue University Idianapolis Weber State University

Famous Women Engineers

Every now and then, I like to take a step back and appreciate how far we’ve come in engineering and technology. Each time I do this I’m completely amazed that I can print things in plastic in my 3D printer, build robots that will follow my instructions and create my own rubber stamps in my laser cutter. I love the Maker and DIY cultures but also respect that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Without the discoveries of the past, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Below is a short list of famous women who have lead or are leading the way.

  • Heather Knight is a pioneer in the growing field of social robotics which investigates ways in which robots could have an impact on our everyday lives. With degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, she is known as a social roboticist and is constantly thinking about new ways to make robots charismatic, giving them the necessary personality and social skills to interact with humans in meaningful ways.
  • Dr. Catherine Mohr, a mechanical engineer, is developing the next generation of surgical robots and robotic procedures that allow patients to heal faster and better. She is pushing the boundaries of medicine with her research in robotic-assisted surgery.
  • Ada Byron Lovelace collaborated with Charles Babbage, the Englishman credited with inventing the forerunner of the modern computer. She wrote a scientific paper in 1843 that anticipated the development of computer software (including the term software), artificial intelligence, and computer music. The U.S. Department of Defense computer language Ada is named for her.
  • Amanda Theodosia Jones invented the vacuum method of food canning, completely changing the entire food processing industry.  Before the 1800’s, a woman could not get a patent in her own name. A patent was considered property and women could not own property in most states.  So, in a move typical of women inventors of the 19th century, Jones denied the idea came from her inventiveness, but rather from instructions received from her late brother from beyond the grave.
  • Dr. Angela Moran, a materials engineering scientist, conducts research to help assure that metals and other material that make up some the Navy’s most vital equipment (such as aircraft, sea vessels and weaponry) can withstand the stress and demands of their use.
  • Mary Engle Pennington revolutionized food delivery with her invention of an insulated train car cooled with ice beds, allowing the long-distance transportation of perishable food for the first time.
  • Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper in 1903. By 1916 they were standard equipment on all American cars.
  • Beulah Louise Henry was known as ‘the Lady Edison’ for the many inventions she patented in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Her inventions included a bobbinless lockstitch sewing machine, a doll with bendable arms, a vacuum ice cream freezer, a doll with a radio inside, and a typewriter that made multiple copies without carbon paper.  Henry founded manufacturing companies to produce her creations and made an enormous fortune in the process.
  • Hedy Lamarr, a 1940’s actress, invented a sophisticated and unique anti-jamming device for use against Nazi radar. While the U.S. War Department rejected her design, years after her patent had expired, Sylvania adapted the design for a device that today speeds satellite communications around the world. Lamarr received no money, recognition, or credit.
  • Grace Murray Hopper, a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, developed COBOL, one of the first high-level computer languages. Hopper is also the person who, upon discovering a moth that had jammed the works of an early computer, popularized the term “bug.” In 1991, Hopper became the first woman, as an individual, to receive the National Medal of Technology. One of the Navy’s destroyers, the U.S.S. Hopper, is named for her.
  • Stephanie Kwoleks discovered a polyamide solvent in 1966 that led to the production of “Kevlar,” the crucial component used in canoe hulls, auto bodies and, perhaps most importantly, bulletproof vests.
  • Ruth Handler was best known as the inventor of the Barbie doll, also created the first prosthesis for mastectomy patients.
  • Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar helped to develop the ceramic tiles that enable the space shuttle to survive re-entry. In 1985, she had an opportunity to test those tiles first hand as an astronaut aboard the shuttle.

Comments?

100K Book Give-Away Round 2

ITAEIY4_300x450Last year, I joined forces with nine amazing Universities and organizations who wanted to promote engineering careers and motivate students to pursue engineering. Together, we gave away close to 8,000 copies of Is There an Engineer Inside You?, the leading book on engineering careers. 6,000 copies of the book were distributed across the nation and another 2000 were downloaded from partner websites. Student competitions and events that received books were BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology), Seaperch, Ability One and the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Books were also donated to teachers and distributed at professional development workshops and conferences. Partners donated books to teachers, schools, guidance counselors and students in their local communities.

As we enter year two of the give-away, I hope to reach even more students and teachers by expanding the program and improving the book. Here’s how:

  1. Encouraging Partner Success – This year partners will be able to choose events in their community for book distribution. This can be a student or educator event. Up to 300 books can be requested. In addition, these books can have their logo on the front and/or back cover(s)! See samples.
  2. Expanding the Program – Last year, we gave away books to students at national student competitions. This year we will expand the recipients to educators and mentors who promote STEM and can disseminate the information to reach an even larger audience.  In addition to the books distributed in partner communities, I will also distribute to several key competitions and conferences.
  3. Improving the Book – I have written three new sections. Instead of covering 38 types of engineering and engineering technology, it now covers 41 types. New additions include: Industrial Engineering Technology, Fire Protection Engineering, and Fire Protection Engineering Technology.
  4. Each partner’s logo and website will be included on the cover page and in the acknowledgements.

The 100K Book Give-Away is an amazing program designed to help you easily expand your outreach, save money, save time, and provide a proven reference to students, parents, educators, counselors and mentors in your community. Deadline to become a partner is August 8, 2014.

More Information

Apply to receive books for your STEM event.

 

iPhone app for Engr and Engr Tech Careers

ITAEIYapplogoBrand new in iTunes is the app “Is There an Engineer Inside You?

This is a great resource for teachers, administrators, parents and students. It covers 40 different types of engineering and engineering technology degrees with videos, job descriptions, salary expectations, scholarships and a school locator.

It’ll help teachers, administrators and parents understand the differences between 40 types of engineering and the opportunities available.

It’ll help students figure out what kind of engineer they want to be.

So head over the the App Store and get your copy. It’ll be the best $2 you’ve spent in a while.

And, please Share far and wide!

Self-Confidence is Key

gleerhThe reasons that we hold events, competitions or camps may often seem so obvious – we want to recruit into our programs or schools or lead students toward their untapped potential (a.k.a. – a better future). I read that robotics has become so popular because it’s an integrated and engaging approach to all things STEM plus teamwork, problem solving, collaboration, and innovation.

It’s difficult to measure your program’s success with middle school students because they are so far from college. Without diligent tracking, you may never know if your program influenced them to pursue a STEM education.

The softer reasons that we hold events are also because we want to tell students that we believe in them or that we believe they can do it. It’s great for their self-esteem to know that they have a champion on their side. When you believe in yourself and your abilities, what is there to stop you from doing exactly what you want with your life and making the perfect career for yourself?

 

Five Things Teachers Can Do Right Now

I’ve received many emails lately about Engineers Week and what it’s all about. To briefly summarize, Engineers Week (Eweek) is always during the president’s birthday week. So this year, it’s Feb. 16-22. Eweek statistics show that last year, 40,000 engineers visited classrooms to educate students about the field of engineering. Eweek extrapolates that those engineers reached 5 million students! There are only 20 days until Eweek and it’s not too late to get involved.

Below, I have provided suggestions for teachers to use Eweek as a special time to really educate, inspire, motivate and/or cajole interest in engineering. It’s a time to celebrate the profession and the amazing advances and achievements of the field. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get people to help you in this mission.

Five things that teachers can do right now.

  1. The first thing I would recommend to get an engineer to come to your classroom is to open the phone book and call a local firm that has a yellow page ad. Explain that you are a teacher and would like an engineer to talk to your kids for Engineers Week. You can give them the link to Eweek (www.discovere.org). Most firms benefit from the exposure so you might be surprised at the results. If they seem resistant, just try another.
  2. Put your state in the search engine to find local events in your area.
  3. There is a good chance that in a classroom of 30 students, at least one or two will have parents that are engineers. You may be able to get the parent engineers to talk to your class.
  4. Call your local college of engineering and see if you can arrange a tour or see if they are doing anything special to celebrate the week. Don’t forget about junior colleges and vocational schools! They are also great resources.
  5. Contact your local engineering society to find out what they are doing. For example, the IEEE, ASME, ASCE, NSPE and many others have state branches that are independently run by engineers in your state. This may be an excellent opportunity to make a lasting connection. Just put (ieee.org) or (asme.org) or (asce.org) or (nspe.org) into your browser and search for local or state chapters of the organization. When you find your state contact, write to the president asking for help.

What are you doing for Eweek? Questions, suggestions? Post them here!

Outreach Communication

For us engineering education advocates, when we want to inspire students, the problem isn’t about finding information on engineering careers, locating hands-on activities, or helping students decide which college to attend. It’s more about figuring out:

  1. What is appealing to students (what drives this generation);
  2. How to present the information;
  3. Getting that tailored information to them (books, DVDs, hands-on projects, posters, websites, etc.);
  4. Answering their questions (Will I like engineering? How hard will I have to work?, Is it worth the hard work?, etc.).

To refresh your memory, The National Academy of Engineering conducted a major study a few years ago to address the messages we portray to pre-college students about engineering. Changing the Conversation, the result of the study, states that young people want jobs that make a difference.  Additional recommendations from the research study are as follows:

  • Stop reinforcing the images of “nerdy and boring”
  • Stop focusing on math and science as the needed inputs and instead focus on the outputs, career opportunities, and making a difference in the world
  • Use the word “create” not “build”
  • Use images of people, not things: especially avoid using gears and mechanical looking things
  • Use the following five words in describing engineering: discovery, design, imagination, innovation, contribution
  • Describe engineer as creative problem solvers, essential to health, happiness and safety
  • Emphasize that engineers shape the future

Have you been using the recommendations? With Engineers Week on the horizon, right now is the perfect time to figure out when and how to jump on the bandwagon.

 

Get Ready for Engineers Week!

Now that the holidays are behind us, the next big celebration on my calendar is Engineers Week (eweek). Because I run a center that is based on promoting engineering, this is a big deal. In fact, it’s such a big deal that I talk about it all year. If I facilitate a training, those teachers hear about it. If I talk to engineers about mentoring, they also hear about it. I blog about it and sometimes throw eweek parties. The reason I get so excited about Engineers Week is because I get the chance to celebrate the profession with thousands of like-minded people all over the world.

If you want to decorate the halls, check out our posters. The majority were designed by students and I promise you will find many that you like. http://www.stemposters.com

If you run contests or competitions and need inexpensive student prizes, check out our engineering pins. They are fun and always bring a smile to my face. http://www.engineeringedu.com/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=62

If you want to do easy, fun and high-engagement hands-on activities with students, take a look at Teaching Engineering Made Easy for activity ideas and inspiration. http://www.engineeringedu.com/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=33_67

If you are an engineer planning to visit a classroom, take a look at our eweek kits to make your visit memorable and dynamic. http://www.engineeringedu.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=97&product_id=285

The point is to do something to celebrate. The week runs from Feb 16-22.  This is your chance.

 

Summer Camp Success!

Robotics Activity

A few weeks ago, I ran a summer camp in Tulsa that simultaneously trained 10 teachers on engineering design while also serving as a summer camp for 34 middle school girls.

How it worked: On Monday, teachers learned several activities while the girls did ice breakers, watched videos and were entertained by other facilitators and several engineering students from the local colleges and high school (PLTW and robotics students). On Tuesday – Friday, the teachers, armed with the activities they learned and constructed on Monday, team facilitated the activities with the girls. When the girls had a field trip to local industry, watched videos, or listened to panel discussions (basically every spare moment), the teachers went back into training. When the girls went home, we refined our activities and hashed out what worked and what didn’t. It was an amazing week lead by amazing people! By the last day, 95% of the girls said they wanted to be an engineer and the teachers went back to class with increased confidence and bundles of materials to implement more engineering education into their instruction.

Inspirational message: Never underestimate the power of a full engaged and committed team of people. They can and will do amazing work!

The Engineering Design Process as a Tool

I’m happy to announce that a few weeks ago, I won the contract to write and develop tutorials, reference and training materials for grade 1 through 12 Oregon teachers to use the Engineering Design Process to be more effective and successful teaching science.

Since 2009, the Oregon state standards have included “Engineering Design” as a core “Science Process Skill” in the curriculum. The term Engineering Design describes the concept of using the practical application of scientific principles to everyday problems as a method for teaching students about science. The documents that I am composing are intended to help teachers understand, and answer the following questions:

  • What characterizes Engineering Design processes and how are they used?
  • What are some good ways to teach students about the Engineering Design process?
  • How can the Engineering Design process be used to:
    • motivate students to learn science,
    • increase the depth of their understanding, and
    • build skills that allow them to use science to solve practical problems?
  • What exercises might be used to familiarize students with the Engineering Design process at the same time they learn science content knowledge?

It’s very exciting to think that I will have a hand in helping all students in Oregon gain a foothold in STEM education. Although the term “busy” is an understatement about my life right now, opportunities like this don’t come around everyday. When the train pulled out of the station, I made sure I was on-board.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress….