Information for Planners of Other Outreach Programs

The intended audience for this material is planners of other engineering, math, and science middle school outreach programs who would like to duplicate or adapt some of our activities. We hope to build this part of the site more in the future; currently we focus on providing information about the planning and implementation of the community-oriented design projects, which are a keystone of the program. We have tried to include enough information here to give you a flavor of the activities and a sense of how you could use them in your program. For detailed information or to give us feedback, please contact Prof. Chrys Demetry, Camp Reach Co-Director by e-mail cdemetry@wpi.edu or by phone at +1-508-831-5195.

Longitudinal Study Results

Longitudinal Study Results

Supporting Young Women to Enter Engineering: Long-Term Effects of an Engineering Outreach Program for Middle School Girls A presentation of the results of a six year longitudinal study.
Presenter: Dr. Chrys Demetry

Community Service Design Projects

Goals for the Design Projects:

  • Have girls succeed in solving an open-ended problem by applying a structured design process that engineers typically use.
  • Introduce the nature of engineering as a collaborative problem solving process with a "care perspective" in which technology is used to help people.
  • Develop organization and planning skills.
  • Provide a vehicle for demonstrating the power of teamwork and creativity.
  • Assist girls in developing oral presentations skills.

Please note: Some aspects of our design projects were modeled after Dartmouth College's Project for Teaching Engineering Problem Solving.

Design Project Topics for REACH '97:

  1. Redesign a supplies storage room for Edward Street Day Care Center
  2. Design a library area and borrowing program for parents of premature infants at Memorial Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  3. Design a toy storage unit for the play area of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center Pediatrics Clinic

United Way agencies can be good sources for project topics!

Examples of Other Possible Projects*:

  • Plan a short nature walk in a park
  • Design a play area for children in a homeless shelter
  • Design a recycling plan for a non-profit organization or small business
  • Improving some aspect of patient services in a hospital

*Project topics related to children seem to be particularly appropriate for middle school girls.

Staff Supervision:

The thirty participants in Camp REACH were divided into three groups of ten, each of which was supervised by a middle school math or science teacher and assisted by two high school students (CITs). Thus, there was a 3:1 student:staff ratio, which we feel is important to provide sufficient support for these projects. Each of the three teams worked on a different project in the Worcester area.

Design Project Task Sequence and Exercises:

PLEASE NOTE: For every task that is marked with asterisks (*) below, we developed some worksheets to guide the girls' activities. You are welcome to use them or adapt them for your own purposes. Just send us email, and we will send you hard copies via U.S. Mail.