K-12 at The Citadel, Spring 2020

(Scroll down to see images from the events described in this article)

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
The Citadel Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, School of Engineering (SOE), and Society of Women (SWE) student chapter organized and hosted “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” a 3-hour outreach event designed to excite middle-school-aged girls about engineering through high-energy, hands-on learning activities. This year, 36 Girl Scouts participated in the event along with 26 engineering students and professional volunteers. Educational activities included constructing a castle, building a crane, designing and building a road, and programming an Ozobot to navigate the road. All learning activities and engineering design challenges were introduced to Girl Scout participants using the theme “Disney Princesses” and all participants earned their engineering scout badge.

National Engineers Week Event
Civil engineering student volunteers and faculty at The Citadel hosted the annual Storm the Citadel event, a K-12 outreach event held during National Engineers Week focused on engaging students from the Lowcountry Region in educational contests involving trebuchet, bridge building, robotics and water bottle rocket competitions. Over 200 student, teachers, and parents participated in the bridge competition.

Twenty-seven bridges were build using popsicle sticks and were judged according to aesthetics and load testing. During the load testing, engineering students discuss bridge designs with each of the K-12 teams. The interaction between college and K-12 students is the most impactful aspect of the competition, where college students serve as ambassadors and role models for engineering education, and K-12 students receive feedback and encouragement from successful college students.

Bridges are tested to failure using a custom load testing device where college students carefully pour sand into a bucket attached to the end of a leaver arm. Using the bridge weight and test load held, a strength-to-weight ratio is calculated and used as the basis for ranking structural efficiency. Prior to the load testing bridges are judged by an expert engineering panel based on best architectural design and best technical design for middle school and high school divisions.

Charleston Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Festival
The Citadel Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering faculty participated in the 10th Annual Charleston Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Festival, held March 9, 2020, involving bridge design, fabrication and testing, using K’nex rods and connectors educational building sets. During the 5-hour event approximately 200 students participated in our program and were introduced to foundational principles of civil engineering.

The annual STEM festival celebration attracts over 10,000 K-12 students, and their families, from surrounding counties (Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties) extending across the South Carolina Coastal Lowcountry, a region with a population over 787,000 residents in 2018.

The widely popular and successful event received strong support from industry, manufacturing, trade professions, business, and educational institutions, with over 80 exhibitors, hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented STEM engagement.

FIRST Lego League Club of James Island
Two faculty from The Citadel met with five elementary school aged home schooled children and their parents, to discuss the club’s innovation project addressing needs in their local community with a specific focus providing alternative transportation options to solve traffic congestion to Folly Beach during summer months. Students presented their plan at the FIRST Lego League competition in Summerville, November 23, 2019.

See images below from the various events at The Citadel.