Title

Geotechnical engineering in US elementary schools

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

European Journal of Engineering

Volume

38

Issue

3

Publisher

Taylor & Francis Online

Publication Date

6-10-2013

First Page

300

Last Page

315

Abstract

This paper reports on the results of several geotechnical engineering-related science activities conducted with elementary-school students. Activities presented include soil permeability, contact stress, soil stratigraphy, shallow and deep foundations, and erosion in rivers. The permeability activity employed the LEGO NXT platform for data acquisition, the soil profile and foundations activity employed natural and transparent soils as well as LEGO-based foundation models, and the erosion activity utilised a 3D printer to assist with construction of building models. The activities seek to enhance students’ academic achievement, excite them about geotechnical engineering, and motivate them to study science and math. Pre- and post-activity evaluations were conducted to assess both the suitability of the activities and the students’ learning. Initial results show that students gain a reasonable understanding of engineering principles. Moreover, the geotechnical engineering activities provided students an opportunity to apply their math skills and science knowledge.

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