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ECE Outreach Program

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering runs a popular outreach program to help K-12 students and their teachers explore engineering. Led by Professor Betty Lise Anderson, the program is specifically designed to address the shrinking number of students going into the STEM fields and to increase the number of women and minorities in engineering. In 2015, the program won Ohio State's top university-wide Outreach Award.

Watch a video of Anderson in action at the Marysville, Ohio Early College High School HERE.

Along with assistant Clayton Greenbaum and numerous Ohio State student volunteers, Prof. Anderson visits schools, camps, and after-school organizations to engage young students by teaching them how to build real engineering projects, such as working speakers for smart phones or even wireless LED lights that students can take home. Since 2008, the program has brought hands-on engineering projects to more than 11,000 students, many of whom may never have thought they could be an engineer, or even had any idea what an engineer does. With special attention to high-need schools and districts, kids from diverse backgrounds are being shown the possibilities of careers in STEM fields. Watch a short video here that shows a great example of that special moment when a student "gets it" and becomes inspired by engineering.
 
Information about the projects and complete details of the program can all be found on Prof. Betty Lise Anderson's outreach website.

Hands-On Projects for Elementary, Middle and High-School Students

The department has also developed hands-on projects that can be completed by students inexpensively and in a reasonable amount of time. One example that students can complete in a little over an hour is an LED circuit that lights up their initials. The students consider engineering tradeoffs such as high brightness versus battery life, and this circuit is very easy to debug, making it a satisfying experience.

Other projects, which were mostly developed by ECE students, include:

  • Audio equalizer: Allows students to play music through low pass, high pass, and band pass filters, and relate this project to physics concepts
  • Infrared heart rate monitor: Makes a light blink with your pulse
  • Jeopardy game buzzer circuit, accompanied by a Jeopardy game
  • DC motor using a battery and magnet to make it spin
  • Speaker: Build a working speaker using paper, wire and a magnet!
  • Smart lighting teaches students about saving energy by building a circuit to turn the lights out when not needed
  • 3D optics: illustrates the physical principles of 3D perception, how 3D glasses work, and lets students generate their own 3D images
  • And others

The projects make perfect hands-on activities for school classrooms and STEM Clubs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Each project has a set of instructions and explanation of the physical principles being applied, a slide presentation that could be used in a classroom, and, in some cases, a student handout. The documentation was written specifically for educators, so teachers can complete the activities independently. Instructions include parts lists and vendors.

Classroom Visits

Prof. Anderson's outreach group is available to visit Columbus-area schools to lead the projects described above. Interested school teachers for second grade and up may email anderson.67@osu.edu for more information.

Feedback

Please send feedback on the projects and questions to anderson.67@osu.edu.

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