Activity and Engagement– Keys in Connecting Engineering with Secondary School Students

Dawes, Les A. & Rasmussen, Gary N. (2006) Activity and Engagement– Keys in Connecting Engineering with Secondary School Students. In 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 10-13 December 2006, Auckland, New Zealand.


Key factors in developing understanding of engineering among secondary school students is real world activity based experiences. Active learning experience is the foundation of a program developed by the Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering at QUT in association with Queensland secondary schools. The "Secondary Schools and QUT Engineering Activity Kits" or "SQUEAK" program is an initiative which involves building relationships with secondary schools, motivating and providing role models for engineers of the future and attracting more students to an Engineering career. The program promotes engineering as a profession, increases awareness of the role of engineers in society and benefits students making the decision to study engineering. It assists in attracting quality students to engineering disciplines addressing long term shortages in the engineering industry and declining engineering enrolments in some disciplines. It helps secondary school students in connecting real world engineering with studies of science and mathematics in schools. The connection is enhanced by final year engineering students visiting high schools with hands-on, practical, problem solving activity kits where they engage with the class over one or more lessons. The activity kits are designed to be fully integrated within the subject curriculum. Teachers have part of their curriculum presented by young aspiring engineers in context rich, group based activities. All stakeholders benefit from the experience with many questions being raised about the core material, engineering issues, studies and university. The activity kits developed specifically for this program are well grounded in engineering principles and can be incorporated into science, engineering and mathematics curriculum giving students a contextual basis for learning technical subjects. Although best presented by engineering students, they may be used by teachers alone. This paper reports on the success of the program over the past five years and presents evaluations from both a teacher and student prospective.

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ID Code: 5912
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: HERN, linkages, active learning, engagement
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 02 Jan 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2015 06:03

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