From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2018
A college outreach engineering education program designed for high school students was implemented in a community college using the three principles of K-12 engineering education, namely, product design, science knowledge, and mindset development. The means of transforming a science question into a design driven one was illustrated using examples and projects from the fields of astronomy and bio-optics. The relevant scientific principles were presented by introducing various iterated designs in an interactive learning environment. A high school level research component using astronomy and bio-optics-related public data was also implemented to enrich the students’ exposure to numerical processing techniques accessible in Microsoft Excel. Examples including solar events driven by magnetic field topology, cosmological images generated by IllustrisTNG Project, muon flux data, Killer T-cell motion, and wound assay cell migration are used in the teaching of iterated designs. A Path Diagram assessment model based on a LISREL computation scheme with learning intent and engineering mindset as latent variables was used to gauge the effectiveness of an implementation, the results of which would be used in the subsequent semester’s implementation of the research component. The materials developed in a College Now course, where high school students take a research course at a community college, would be readily adaptable to other four-year college programs. The possible future incorporation of an introductory engineering course for high school student education, using the MIT low-cost $100 muon detector and Fermi Lab QuarkNet muon scintillation detector, is discussed.
Sunil Dehipawala, Regina Sullivan, Raul Armendariz, Vazgen Shekoyan, George Tremberger Jr., David Lieberman, and Tak Cheung, "Assessment of high-school engineering education outreach program employing project-based learning in astronomy and bio-optics within a college setting," Proc. SPIE 10741, Optics Education and Outreach V, 107410H (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 22, 2018; Published: 14 September 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2320683.
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