You should never put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes, unless that is your strategy to win a friendly egg drop competition.
Middle school and high school girls from Eufaula recently surrendered their Saturday for a Parent/Daughter TEA (technology, engineering and aptitude) event organized by Eufaula City Schools. Over 40 girls and their parents participated in hands-on engineering activities that showcased career opportunities available to the students.
“The middle school turnout was great. We actually had more students than we anticipated,” said Michelle Eller, Secondary Curriculum coordinator for Eufaula City Schools. Eller, along with ECS Career Coach Amanda Hardy, was responsible for planning the event and seeing it to fruition.
Led by Celeste Baine, director of the Engineering Education Service Center in Springfield, Oregon, students and parents alike participated in interactive exercises that were inquiry-based and focused on solving problems. Baine, a biomedical engineer by trade, is the 2006 Norm Augustine Award winner for engineering communications and the author of numerous engineering books.
Parents and daughters paired off to participate in experiments, one of which required them to take simple household items such as CDs, balloons and bottle squirt tops to create a functioning hovercraft. The pairs also took part in an egg drop competition, in which they tried to drop an egg from a predetermined height without breaking its shell. There were five pairs who succeeded in protecting their eggs from breaking and won the competition.
In addition to experiencing engineering through fun exercises, participants also had the opportunity to hear testimonies from female engineers, including Tania McKey, a graduate assistant for Women in Science and Engineering at Auburn University; Shabaka McKey with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Kim Harris, a math teacher at Eufaula High School.
Raven Ivey, a science teacher at Admiral Moorer Middle School, pointed out: “The groups learned that engineers are looking for women because they are the major consumers in the public, and that engineers take on several roles.”
With females being atypical engineering students, the TEA was an opportunity to expose girls and their parents to the many career opportunities available to them in the field. Eufaula City Schools is committed to providing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities for students by offering engineering courses at their middle and high schools.
The Parent/Daughter TEA was made possible through an Elevate grant from the Alabama Power Foundation as well as contributions from PLTW, Auburn University, Johnson’s Outdoors, and American Buildings.