Technical University of Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 4068-4073
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Nowadays, the decline in the number of young people opting for scientific and technological itineraries is an alarming fact. However, recent data show that job offer for technical and engineering profiles amounted to 43% in 2013 (Infoempleo, 2014). Training options that lead to the choice of higher education studies are defined at the stage of Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO in Spain). In this period, students guide their professional future by choosing between the different training itineraries, so it is before or during this stage when actions to awake and encourage scientific and technological vocations can be done.

UPM para Jóvenes: una mirada hacia el futuro (UPM for Youth: a look into the future) is a transversal project of the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), with the participation of several Educational Innovation Groups (EIG) of the Engineering and Architecture areas. This project aims at promoting activities among pre-university students to let them discover their own talents, as well as showing them in detail professions related to Civil Engineering and Architecture.

To carry out this project, the IEG ATANI (Acción Tutorial para Alumnos de las Nuevas Ingenierías – Tutorial Action for Students of New Engineering), from the School of Civil Engineering, organized a two-day workshop focusing on "Civil Engineering and Construction" and "Civil Engineering and Infrastructures" with a total of 60 participating students from 2nd ESO Course. Each workshop was aimed at challenging the students with different tasks: construction of an arch without cementing material, construction of a bridge and study of earthquakes. During these workshops, students applied the trial and error method, showing and developing their innate predictive capabilities. Workshops included also some laboratory tests, in which participating students performed the following activities: mortar preparation, tensile strength tests, concrete degradation tests due to the effect of atmospheric CO2, and learned how roads are made and the importance of aggregates and asphalt in the resistance of these infrastructures.

Once each workshop finished, students carried out a survey, in which participants expressed a high degree of satisfaction. This experience has shown us that some of the basic Civil Engineering skills are acquired throughout life and can be reinforced with this kind of activities, which in turn foster interest in scientific and technological studies.
Encouraging vocations, Civil Engineering and Architecture, scientific and technological studies.