Dr. Jim Anderson was asked to participate in the 2009 “Great American Teach-In” event. This annual event provides professionals with an opportunity to visit area elementary and middle schools in order to share information on their careers in an effort to motivate students to stay in school and do well.
Dr. Anderson has participated in this event for the past six years. When asked why he was involved this year, Dr. Anderson said “I feel that we need more engineers and I see The Great American Teach-In as my chance to try to light that fire of interest in those children who just might have that engineering spark in them.”
This year Dr. Anderson used an instructional project that had originally been created by the Institute For Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to teach engineering skills to math and science teachers. The project was used to show the students exactly what engineers do. The project was called “Build A Better Bag” and Dr. Anderson used it to show the children how engineers take an idea, create a prototype, test it, and then go back and update their designs.
The presentation was given to three classes of different ages. In each class the students were asked to provide input on how to create the bag, how to load it once it was built, and then what to do when it failed after being overloaded. Dr. Anderson reported “Every single child was engaged and wanted to contribute their ideas for how to make a better bag. This was exactly the kind of excitement that I was looking to generate.”
Dr. Anderson was proud to have been asked to participate in this event and he’s already looking forward to next year’s Great American Teach-In — wonder what engineering project he’ll present there?