K-12 Outreach

K-12 Outreach and Teach BME

 

Introducing younger students to global health and engineering is one of the more impactful activities a Chapter can organize. EWH Chapter members bring hands-on resources and mentoring to local schools, after-school programs, and STEM camps. EWH’s K-12 STEM activities and Kits are a perfect fit for these programs, giving students a unique introduction to biomedical engineering, science and global health. Visit www.ewh.org/teachbme and www.ewh.org/kits to view these resources.

Starting an outreach program: Build local relationships
The first step to starting an outreach program is to find motivated partners who are interested in introducing students to biomedical engineering. Local schools, non-profits, and on-campus organizations are a good place to start. Groups that focus on K-12 STEM education are very common and can be found in most areas. Makerspaces and other DIY organizations may also be good partners.

Planning an outreach program
Once you’ve started building local relationships, you need to assign program leaders and answer these three questions:
1) What age group or grade are the student participants?
2) How much time is there for an activity?
3) What resources are available in the classroom, workshop or other space?

These questions can be answered during discussions between Chapter members and outreach partners. If the Chapter is interested in working with a certain age group, for example, the outreach program can focus on partners and activities that appeal to that age group.

Outreach activities
Next, choose an activity that is suited for the student age group and environment you’ll be working with. Program partners can provide good advice on what kinds of activities might be best suited for their students. EWH’s TeachBME webpage contains activities generally suited for younger students, while EWH Kits can be built by more advanced students. You can also develop your own program, using ideas from online resources and teachers, or develop a new activity as a Chapter.

It's a good idea to include some presentation in the program to show students the many different fields of biomedical engineering with time for Q+A, so students can ask current engineering students about the field and classes. TeachBME has several presentations that can be used or edited for this part of the program, and EWH staff are always happy to work with Chapters to help develop projects.

Preparing and executing an outreach program
You should practice the activity as a group before working with students. It's important to be familiar with how the activity works, understand where students may need extra help, and review any presentation you will make. Supplies should be organized ahead of time in order to maximize the activity time during the program. This often means packaging supplies for each student or group of students. Sometimes supplies may need to be distributed during the activity, so assigning specific group members to that task can be helpful. Finally, keep partners informed of your plans: they can give great advice on how to make sure the program runs smoothly.

Finally, have fun! An outreach program may take a lot of effort to organize, but it is also very rewarding to share your experience and engage with younger students in biomedical engineering and global health!