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  SAE has developed a program to interest elementary and middle school children in engineering, math and science by giving them a real world design experience. The program is called "A World in Motion" (AWIM) and is being adopted presently in the Dallas ISD, the Irving ISD, the Lewisville ISD and the Springlake ISD. The Texas Section of SAE is now promoting the program Statewide since the summer of 2000.

  The program was developed for grades 4 through 8. These grade levels have been targeted because studies have shown that these are the most critical years for students in terms of developing an interest in math and science. The curricula are designed to invoke curiosity about the engineered world, and expose children to the profession through the use of volunteer engineers in the classroom.

  The program leads the students through discovery and problem solving. The program is taught like an engineering project is run. The students form teams and answer a proposal from a fictitious toy company for a toy car. The team then works from a kit of material supplied by SAE to learn about physical parameters such as friction, force, gear ratios, air resistance, lift, torque, and vectors.

  They also learn about market surveys, data reduction, record keeping, engineering logs, report writing, and presentation preparation. The project can involve five major school disciplines, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Technical studies.

  A part of the project is the requirement of a mentor to assist the teacher for each class be provided. The mentor need not be an engineer, however a technical background or knowledge is very helpful. The mentor acts as the Toy company representative. The mentor reinforces the ideas of applying math and science to real world problems. The students respond well to the mentors and listen to their advice.

  There is a final presentation at the end of the project for each team to demonstrate their toy and do a presentation in front of the teachers, classmates, parents, and mentors. Some teachers present certificates of accomplishment to the students at that time.

For more information about A World In Motion (AWIM) contact:

  Lorton Trent