Implementation of engineering mini-lectures in DREAM: Rigor in an informal, design based high school mentoring project

Zhao Chad Kong, Angie Martiza Bautista-Chavez, Andres J. Goza, Rachel Jackson, Kurt Kienast, Sam Oke, Juan A. Castilleja, Brent C. Houchens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of mini-lectures on mentees' understanding of pre-engineering concepts is investigated in the K-12 engineering outreach program DREAM. Past results have shown that coupling informal, recitation-like sessions with DREAM hands-on learning projects improves mentees' (high school students) understanding of pre-engineering concepts as compared to mentees that do not participate in such discussions. In fact, without these informal sessions, higher-order concepts can become further muddled, even when significant improvements are observed in first-order concepts. This study aimed to determine if structured mini-lectures could achieve similar gains in mentee understanding, with a more formal and repeatable approach. No decrease in mentee performance was observed, as had sometimes previously occurred on highlevel questions. However, gains were modest. This is attributed in part to the fact that many concepts tested here were lower-level when compared to previous work. As would be expected, mentees demonstrate higher correct response rates on these questions initially, and therefore most gains are small. Discussions with teachers at the DREAM schools suggest that high expectations are critical to improving the rigor in DREAM. The mentees are more motivated and focus more intently on mini-lectures that introduce completely new material, as compared to those that simply reinforce their coursework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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