Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 6381-6388
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.1507
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
STEM education is not limited to building knowledge related to science, technology, engineering and math. At its core, STEM skills help children develop new ways of thinking, encouraging curiosity and analysis. Establishing these skills at an early age (infancy through 12-14 years old), when young minds are most malleable, establishes lifelong thinking skills. This is one of the main motivations for the project and experience presented in this work. Within the framework of a larger project that aims to extend the audience for STEM motivating actions to more early stages.

Another motivation related to this project is to let the girls in primary school participate in an engineering project. When successfully participating in this project, girls are empowered with confidence in STEM so that it may become a new perspective of future for them never considered before. Most of the projects directed to the attraction to feminine talent to STEM are conducted in the last years of high school. At this stage, most of the students had already defined in their minds their future career and unfortunately, STEM careers are not included as an option for a huge number of girls.

One part of the project includes to design some activities in Engineering School so that students, boys and specially girls, can experience the participation on an engineering project. In this case, the specific pilot activities have been conducted to a total of 100 primary school students. The activities have been divided into three blocks: introduction to Internet of Things, constructing a prototype in a living lab (OpenLab UAB) and visiting the MELISSA pilot plant, the UAB laboratory which develops technologies to make space missions. Activities have been conducted at the School of Engineering, so students are received on a very different scenario (this increases motivation and engagement from their side).

All three activities are intended to provide different views of an engineering project and provide students different kinds of participation and interactions. With the first Internet of Things activity, they learn how to setup a sensor, to be read form a microcomputer and send the results to a cloud repository. This way the electronic, programming, communications, storage parts can be illustrated in an integrated way. On a second step, once at the OpenLab they can learn how to build up the pieces for a prototype. The AstroPlant lab scale pilot plant is used to illustrate how this can be build up into the OpenLab. The AtstroPlant is a lab scale pilot plant of the space living system that later on the students will see later in real at the MELISSA plant. MELISSA stands for Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative and it is a project funded by the European Space Agency that is running at the UAB's School of Engineering for more than 10 years.

By participating in these, activities they can see how the small steps they are doing in the engineering field are also included in a huge engineer project.
Primary school, STEM, Engineering.