GaTech Workforce Development (2013)

Engaging in Engineering Initiative with Centennial Elementary School
STRIDE Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology

PI: Yanzhi (Ann) Xu, Ph.D. and Alice Grossman
Additional Research Volunteers: Members of Georgia Tech ITE Student Chapter

Researchers from The Georgia Institute of Technology will work with 5th grade students at Centennial Place Elementary School to introduce elements of Engineering such as measurements, data collections, data analysis, presentation, and group work focusing on examples from topics in Transportation Engineering. The primary researchers, Xu and Grossman, have already met with the school principal at Centennial Place Elementary as well as an active Centennial Place Foundation member for coordination and were met with strong support from the school. The initiative would include one two-hour session each quarter for one full year during school hours with 5th grade students with participation from the entire grade (80 students) in the first and last session and ten select interested students for the second and third sessions. The first session will include a short presentation by the researchers and activity stations setup for the students to go around the room and learn about different types of Transportation Engineering research. From the first session, a diverse group of ten students interested in the initiative will enroll in the second and third session with the students will collect and analyze their own pedestrian-related data using Georgia Tech developed apps and data collection units. The initiative will culminate in the fourth session where the small group will present to the rest of their grade and representatives from Georgia Tech and the industry on what they have learned and achieved over the course of the program. The initiative, led by female engineers, will encourage the diverse student body found at Centennial Place (student body: 49.8% Female, 86% African American, 5% Caucasian, 2% Asian, 3% Hispanic, 4% Multi Racial, 71% Free and Reduced Lunch) to consider Engineering as a fun and accessible field of study that applies to everyday life. The experience gained through this initiative will be developed into modules that can be implemented at other elementary schools.