C&I

Curriculum and Instruction

Polytechnic University

Summer Mechatronics Institute for Teachers (SUMMIT)


Abstract

In this project, 20 teachers from Regions 4, 6, and 8 of New York City (NYC) school system will be recruited, trained, and mentored in hands-on engineering design in a four week summer workshop at Polytechnic University. The project will enhance teachers' technical competency through professional development in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This project will introduce the multidisciplinary field of mechatronics to teachers using a structured and integrated learning environment consisting of training, mentoring, and engineering design activities. Specifically, during the first two weeks, guided training, consisting of tutorials, structured engineering designs, and discussions, will expose the teachers to foundational elements of mechatronics, e.g., sensors, actuators, electronic/electro­mechanical components, and microcontroller technologies. Next, during the last two weeks, through team-based, real-world, engineering design projects, teachers will experience synergistic integration activities involving sensors, actuators, instrumentation, and computer control hardware and software. Sample project activities will include: mobile robotics; automation; embedded sensing, control, and computing; and mechatronics-enabled apparatus for physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science labs. The project plan includes conducting an event to showcase teachers' projects to invited middle and high school educators and administrators. Moreover, professional and social meetings will be held to enable participating teachers to network with the engineering faculty and the staff of university-based outreach centers.

Project activities, including lectures, laboratory practice, prototype engineering design, teamwork, and interactions with engineering professionals, will orient teachers to the field of engineering. Moreover, teachers will acquire confidence and capability to enhance the education of their students by embracing technology and by integrating hands-on mechatronics projects in classrooms, laboratories, science research, and new courses. The proposed program is designed to satisfy Standard 5 in the New York State (NYS) Learning Standards in Mathematics, Science, and Technology. Specifically, Standard 5 fosters technological literacy by requiring students "to apply technical knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems." This project also addresses workforce diversity issues by providing professional development opportunities to teachers working at, primarily, urban middle and high schools with a socially diverse, economically disadvantaged, and underrepresented student body.

Polytechnic University's mechatronics lab, developed by the principal investigator (PI) through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and university resources, will be leveraged to create a motivating, hands-on mechatronics training and mentoring program. Undergraduate and graduate students will also contribute to this effort. The PI and co-PI offer extensive experience in K-12 outreach.

Contact: Dr. Vikram Kapila vkapila@duke.poly.edu

Last Updated: June 17, 2009