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Brad Petersen
Director of
Communications
1066 ECE Building
306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 244-6376
bradp@illinois.edu

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Meg Dickinson
Communications Specialist
1068 ECE Building
306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 300-6664
megd@illinois.edu

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Rosenbaum leads workshop on “Making Engineering Fun”

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By Laurel Bollinger, ECE ILLINOIS
July 6, 2009

  • Prof. Elyse Rosenbaum led an engineering workshop for 18 elementary/middle school teachers.
  • The workshop was designed to introduce students to engineering at a younger level.
  • Rosenbaum recieved funding from the NSF to host the workshop.

Elyse  Rosenbaum
Elyse Rosenbaum

ECE Professor Elyse Rosenbaum is doing her best to ensure that engineering will get more attention in the public schools.

After teaching units on science and engineering to 40 fifth graders from Stratton Elementary for two years now, she and some of her students are expanding the program to give public school teachers the tools to teach engineering.

On June 30 Rosenbaum led “Making Engineering Fun,” an all-day workshop for 18 teachers of grades 4 through 8. The workshop covered four units: microelectronics, waves, static electricity, and heat. Lesson plans and material lists were provided to the teachers, along with the opportunity to take part in the demonstrations and experiments.

The workshop developed directly from Rosenbaum’s experiences of working with the fifth-grade students. “Now we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t,” said Rosenbaum. And, rather than just having an impact on one group of students at one local school, Rosenbaum’s efforts will help reach a wider audience.

The workshop is intended to give teachers the resources and information they need to introduce the field of engineering to younger students. “They took this class to improve their understanding of science, especially physics-based subjects,” Rosenbaum said. “This class will also help them to understand the connections to engineering and to better motivate their students for careers in engineering.”

Rosenbaum was please with the reactions she received from the participating teachers. “The teachers were enthusiastic about the prospect of replicating the demonstrations and experiments in their classrooms,” she said. “It's exciting to think that schoolchildren throughout Champaign and Urbana will have new, fun experiments being performed in their classrooms. I hope it sparks a love of science.”

Rosenbaum received funding for teaching the Stratton Elementary fifth graders through a National Science Foundation grant, and she hopes that ultimately her efforts will help more local students attain engineering degrees from a four-year university. She said that it is extremely important to expose children to this field of study at a young age.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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