Lessons Learned by the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M University Following Its First Summer Camp for High School Students
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In an effort to improve outreach to high schools and encourage interest in aerospace engineering, the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M University recently held its first summer camp for high school juniors and seniors in July 2012. Most engineering summer programs for high school students administered at the college-level have the common purposes of exciting high school students about engineering and serving as a means to attract talented students into their program. Often, the activities are designed more for fun than for educational purposes, and the appropriate age level is not always considered. One of the goals of this camp was to find a balance between these competing priorities. Since this was the first attempt at a summer camp by the Aerospace Engineering Department, the staff and student workers gathered information and advice from experienced sources to maximize the probability of success. The camp structure and activities were intended to address the following fundamental questions: - Is this an effective method of communicating the fundamentals of aerospace engineering to high school students? - Is this activity sufficiently interesting and instructive to maintain the attention of high school students without either boring or overwhelming them? These questions were used as guidelines during development of the camp structure. All ideas and potential activities were assessed relative to these guidelines. American Society for Engineering education, 2013.