Cal Poly SWE hosted our annual 4th Grade Days during National Engineers Week, February 23rd through 26th. This year, over the course of the four-day event, we visited 28 local fourth grade classrooms, which allowed us to reach out to over 800 students. Before the event, a video was shared with the teachers and elementary students to get them excited about the visit and have the teachers facilitate a short brainstorming discussion about engineering. Also, before the event, a video was shared with all of the volunteers, which gave them instructions on how to run the activity and corresponding discussion. During the event a pair of volunteers spent one hour in each classroom conducting a hands-on activity and teaching the students about engineering, different types of engineers, and the engineering and science principles behind the activity. This year’s activity was called “Touchdown” (one of the activities used during the invent-it build-it event at SWE national conference). All of the students, teachers, and Cal Poly volunteers had a great time during this event.
Before our discussion and activity, 77.8% of students said they thought engineering was fun. After the activity, we asked the same question and 91.5% of students said that they thought engineering was fun. Also 97.9% of students said that they had fun during this event. One of the volunteers said, “It was a great opportunity to introduce and get the children excited for engineering! I would love to do it again.” All of the volunteers who filled out the survey said they would volunteer for this event or other SWE outreach events in the future. Lastly, after the event, one teacher said, “This was all very new for them [my students]. Many of them said after the presentation that they would like to become engineers.” We are looking forward to having another successful 4th Grade Days next year.