Teaching About CE in Elementary School

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 21 March 2016

This past week I had the opportunity to help a friend out at a nearby elementary school. My friend is the activity coordinator at The Plains Elementary school after-school program called Kids on Campus. It is a program geared towards helping elementary school students get extra help with their homework in addition to some exploration of things beyond elementary school. I was asked to come in and talk to the kids about Civil Engineering and what I do as a student studying Civil Engineering.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you will know that I really love kids and spending time with them. So, when my friend asked if I could help her, I was more than excited to!

I asked my friend, Praveen, to come along with me to help out with the kids. We got there and had the chance to talk to two groups of students with about 40 students in each group. The first group of students were in grades 4-6 and really surprised me with some of the knowledge they already had! The second group of students was a much younger group with grades 1-3.

Praveen and I presented to them what Civil Engineers do and the different types of Civil Engineering: geotechnical, environmental, structural, transportation, etc. The kids seemed most excited about building things and making sure the buildings wouldn’t fall down on people. It’s always fun to help kids see how Civil Engineers make a difference in everyday life for all people.

After the brief presentation on civil engineering, we broke the kids up into smaller groups and asked them to build the tallest structure out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. They were only given three large marshmallows and the rest were small marshmallows. The goal was to get a large marshmallow to the highest point possible!

Building Spaghetti Towers

I was quite impressed with the students’ abilities, even the younger kids. I think the tallest marshmallow out of both groups was about 14 inches.

Building Spaghetti Towers

After the first group was finished, one of the teachers challenged Praveen and myself to beat the kids’ height in only 3 minutes, when the kids were given 20. Praveen and I went for it and reached a height of 21 inches.

Building Spaghetti Towers

The kids were loving it and I was too.

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