Students from Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering visited Kyrene Altadeña Middle School and assisted with a project promoting interest in the field of engineering.

There were five different engineering-based learning experiences hosted by students from Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering throughout the year from Paper Engineer Pop-Ups at Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School, hosted by undergraduate students Rachael Tjahjo and Zachary Ross; Sparking the Light at Kyrene Centennial Middle School, hosted by Alison Llave and Sage Santos; Engineering a Solution to Oil Spills at Centennial, hosted by Alec Chamberlain; Robot Arm at Altadeña, hosted by Zachary Burnham and Rebecca Mercer; to Solar Mirror: Engineering Light at Altadeña, hosted by Sanketh Kamath and Jenna Moore.

During the Solar Mirror: Engineering Light project both freshmen visitors, Kamath and Moore, gave students a brief presentation on what they would be working on.

Kamath said the Solar Mirror: Engineering Light started as a project he completed in his first semester at ASU, and was given a chance to teach it to students at Altadeña.

“It’s to help them understand what engineering is and getting a better idea of engineers because what they do is solve problems. We try to use a simple, real-life example,” Kamath said. “We just want to show them that it’s really easy to come up with solutions to solve problems and pretty much anyone can do it.”

The Solar Mirror: Engineering Light project consisted of designing a device to focus or concentrate light using the provided materials to light up a dark area.

Students, who worked in small groups, were given pieces of mirror, tape, Popsicle sticks and a flashlight as tools to find a way to shine light into a small box.

JoAnne Skoglund, a seventh-grade science teacher, said her students were given the chance to learn from other students who are not much older than them, and helped them envision themselves learning engineering at a university level.

“I love that it’s hands on and they have to work with real-world problems together,” Skoglund said.

Moore said she enjoyed participating in the engineering-based learning because there was a similar project that visited her school when she was younger, and was one of the main reasons she showed interest in pursuing her engineering education.

Dr. Tirupalavanam Ganesh, assistant dean of engineering education, said the engineering-based learning was a way to get young minds interested in the field of engineering.

“In my role as assistant dean, engineering education at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, I am working to create opportunities for undergraduate students in engineering to engage in Pre K-12 engineering education efforts. This semester, through the FSE 194: Pre K-12 Engineering Education Internship Experience offered for the first time, students are engaged in a pilot effort that is designed to offer the opportunity to serve as ambassadors of engineering to area schools,” Ganesh said. “Engineering practices are an important way to experience the built environment and products we often take for granted and by serving as mentors, our undergraduate students have the opportunity to share their own passion and interests that led them to engineering career pathways with Pre K-12 students.”

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