Cal Poly SLO SWE: SWE-EETY Outreach at Atascadero Middle School

Cal Poly SWE has been working on an outreach program called SWE-EETY, or Society of Women Engineers Expressing Engineering to Youth. On March 17th, three volunteers drove from San Luis Obispo to Atascadero Middle School. In Christina Heller’s engineering and science classroom, we worked with three class periods of 7th and 8th grade students. A brief presentation showed the students all the disciplines of engineering Cal Poly offers. One of the SWE volunteers posed a challenge question at the end of the presentation; she asked “What types of engineers contribute to Disneyland?” The students responded with the more common majors, like civil, mechanical, and software engineering. Some students picked up on some of the less known disciplines, like industrial and material engineering. After the broad introduction to engineering, the students participated in a hands-on activity to make individual thumb pianos. The thumb piano consisted of metal twangs positioned at various lengths that were sandwiched between wood rods. Both Mrs. Heller and the Cal Poly SWE volunteers believe in “learn by doing,” so the students were encouraged to use the provided instruction manual and work as a team to figure out how to fit the components together. Many of the students stayed past the bell and into their break to finish up their thumb pianos. The fresh enthusiasm and eager participation of the students makes the visits to Atascadero Middle School fun and engaging every time!



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