Thanks to a partnership between Purdue University College of Engineering and Sunnyside Intermediate School in Lafayette School Corporation, elementary students in the district got a first-hand look at the design challenges that engineers face. They also got the chance to give honest feedback about what was presented to them.
The first-year engineering students from Purdue University College of Engineering designed prototypes, some of which may be installed in Imagination Station, a science museum located in Lafayette, Indiana. As part of the engineering program, they are learning how to engage with prospective clients. In this case, their clients were the fifth graders at Sunnyside Intermediate School. The engineering students spent time researching the developmental stages of children, reviewed what state standards say fifth graders should know and understand, and then incorporated this information into designs for a fifth-grade audience at Lafayette School Corporation’s Sunnyside Intermediate School.
About 100 fifth graders from Sunnyside critiqued the designs, talked with the engineering students, and demonstrated how much they know and understand about the world around them. According to an article in JConline, the Lafayette Journal & Courier, the homemade catapults and solar over pizza boxes were favorites.
With university partnerships, Indiana’s urban schools are bringing science and engineering into the elementary classroom