John Matteo, P.E., M.ASCE, certainly did!
Matteo recently got to recharge his batteries in Old Town Alexandria, VA, talking to summer camp kids about structural engineering. He was invited to help show students what “real engineering” is all about. His appearance at the STEM-focused summer day-camp, run by JJ Rohrer, was one of the highlights for the elementary students who attended. According to John, All week long these kids had fun building everything from Lego™ bridges and buildings to electrical circuits and simple robotics. John helped them to understand the ‘why’ behind the fun they were having!
John’s discussion highlighted some iconic historic structural elements, such as arches and domes as examples of how engineers use the properties of materials to solve different problems. Threaded through the presentation was his very cool theme of tools an engineer uses to communicate: graphics, language and mathematics. Afterwards, the kids grabbed their pencils and paper and began an exercise in describing a building, with drawings, words and numbers. This plan was then handed to their partner, who had the assignment of interpreting the design, using Legos.
This activity is typical of the hands-on, practical activities that the summer camp focused on, which reinforce actual processes involved in engineering the built environment. ASCE Pre-College Outreach encourages hands-on activities like this, and has come out recently with 100+ civil engineering activities to help volunteers bring civil engineering to life for the kids they work with. Be sure to check them out for your next outreach activity!
Hands-on activities, cleverly combined with the type of delivery Matteo provided, will go a long way toward inspiring the next generation of civil engineers we need for a strong, vibrant professional pipeline. Oh, and did we mention – they’re fun!
How did you recharge your batteries this summer? Was civil engineering part of your summer fun?
Senior Manager, Pre-College Outreach