Mechatronics Workshop for Elementary School Outreach

In an attempt to engage a classroom of fifth-grade students in an engineering design experience, we took advantage of the prior experiences of a larger collaboration which demonstrated that these students gravitate towards projects which involve electronics while also providing an opportunity to help people. The field of assistive technology, which provides a means of achieving greater independence and standard of living through the integration of technology with the tasks of everyday life and work, served as a suitable application for the student's natural inclinations towards helping others. Supporting evidence was also found in the literature where it is argued that assistive technology is a field that provides a rich opportunity for students to engage with their peers, their community, and the world at large in a meaningful way. Further, the use of project-based design experiences has been shown to improve student engagement, use of divergent thinking, and teamwork skills.<div><br></div><div><i>Presented at the 2017 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference in Minneapolis, MN on 29 September 2017.</i></div>