TEAMS is an outreach program where we visit local elementary and middle schools and introduce them to engineering. Some of the schools we went to include: Happy Hollow Elementary, Cumberland Elementary, Sunnyside Middle School, Murdock Elementary, and Edgelea Elementary. Since Deanna Esposito, PSWE TEAMS Chair, and her volunteers did an extremely great job with the program this couple of weeks, its only fair to shine the spotlight on her awesome work thus far!
What We Do
The outreach program generally involves 1st to 5th graders. 1st graders get simpler activities like building a bridge or tower. Around the holidays, we build with candy to make it more festive! With 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders, the same kind of activities are planned, only with more “awesomeness.” For example, one activity that the kids love to do is Protect the Chip. This is a spin off of the typical egg drop experiment, but much less messy! The students build something to protect a chip from a falling object. Finally, for 5th grade classes, we plan a boat building activity where they have to build a boat that can hold as many marbles as possible.
However, as an introduction of the activity, we talk about the different kinds of engineering. Most of the kids have heard of an engineer, but mostly as a Mechanical, Civil, and train engineers! Part of the TEAMS job is to introduce different engineering disiplines and advocate the diversity within the career. Deanna beleives that the kids “really love participating in discussion.” She emphasizes problem solving because it is a great lesson they can take away. Also, she shows them different engineering accomplishments, and they have to figure out what problem they solved to get there.
Experience in Deanna’s Eyes
“During the activity, it is really neat to see the ideas the kids come up with! I often find myself saying, ‘Oh wow! That’s a good idea! I would have never done it like that!'”
Last semester we did out first evening TEAMS event. The biggest challenge with TEAMS is getting SWE volunteers. Evening events would get more volunteers because the event is at a time when no one has class. Last semester, the evening event had 11 volunteers, 11 high school girls, and Cummins representatives and sponsorship. The event was so successful, Deanna decided to have another one this semester. (Yay!!)
What You Can Do
TEAMS is always in need for more volunteers. It is a great way to get involved in PSWE and take part in encouraging girls to become engineers. As Deanna mentioned, there will be other TEAMS visits in which volunteers, like you can participate in. The next opportunity will be April 3rd from 5:30-8:30pm at Delphi Elementary. More details about the event will come out shortly.
A special thank you to Deanna Esposito for her help in this article. I can’t stress enough that TEAMS is an awesome way to get involved, especially if you have a passion in motivating potential engineers. If you have any questions, want to volunteer, or want to learn more about what TEAMS does, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.