Mechatronics Engineering teams up with STEM elementary school
KSU students teach youngsters engineering principles during yearlong partnership
MARIETTA, Ga. (May 5, 2016) — Nearly 150 fifth-graders from Martin Technology Academy in Flowery Branch, Ga., watched in awe as senior mechatronics engineering students showed how they designed and built a car to park itself and a robot to scale a wall.
The youngsters came to Kennesaw State’s Marietta Campus recently to meet the engineering college students they had been communicating with weekly throughout the academic year, as part of a partnership between the Mechatronics Engineering department and MTA.
Kevin McFall, assistant professor of mechatronics engineering, helped to establish the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology’s first partnership with a K-12 magnet school focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
“Working with a STEM partner is a great opportunity for our engineering college and our students to impact a new generation of engineers,” said McFall. “This collaboration has engaged our students on a completely new level as they interacted with young students who were also learning the engineering design process.”
Martin Technology Academy Principal Tamara Etterling was excited to bring her students to campus to meet the college students.
“We teach our students with a lot of autonomy – their desks aren’t in rows and most of their learning may not be in a traditional classroom,” said Etterling. “Our students learn the engineering design process as a problem-solving tool, so they can solve real-world problems right in our community.”
First-year engineering students interacted with the fifth-graders each week, as the Kennesaw State students built robots as part of their Introduction to Mechatronics Engineering course.
Using Skype, the fifth-graders and college students interacted and posted to a video blog. The MTA students were also designing and building robots using their knowledge of the engineering design process.
Matteo Alessandro, a freshman mechatronics major from Italy, enjoyed working with the budding engineers. During the course, Alessandro said that it was fun to see them ask questions via the vlog.
“I was very interested in meeting them and seeing their excitement,” said Alessandro. “I hope this makes them appreciate engineering as much as I do.”
The partnership is a first for the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. The Mechatronics Engineering department was honored with MTA’s STEM Partner of the Year award on May 3.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.