Each One Teach One: Armstrong engineering undergraduates mentor local elementary school students.
Every week during the Spring 2014 semester, five Armstrong undergraduate engineering students volunteered two to three hours a week to help Spencer Elementary School students with the development of their math skills and problem-solving abilities.
In addition to math tutoring, the undergraduates developed and supervised developmentally appropriate engineering projects for the elementary school students. The projects were designed to introduce fundamental engineering concepts through device design, construction and testing.
Some students designed, built and tested a water projectile machine to help understand concepts like pressure, velocity and energy. Other students designed and constructed balloon-propelled Lego vehicles, miniature piñatas and BristleBots crafted from batteries, motors and toothbrushes. Armstrong mentors emphasized hands-on experimentation and collaboration, rewarding children for their hard work with stickers, candy and math notebooks.
The innovative Each One Teach One (EOTO) program, which matches college mentors with elementary school children, helps increase awareness among inner city elementary or middle school students of STEM careers. The program also develops student appreciation and motivation to excel in STEM fields and encourages mentor relationships between college students and elementary school students.
Dr. Cameron Coates, professor and Armstrong Engineering Studies Interim program coordinator, obtained funding from the Georgia Space Grant Consortium in order to develop and conduct the EOTO program. He believes the program is a great way to give back to the community while nurturing an interest in STEM areas like science, technology, engineering and math.
“We believe that there is tremendous potential for STEM growth and development for the City of Savannah and surrounding municipalities,” he explains. “The growth and productivity of local businesses are strongly dependent on employing workforce-ready graduates who will stay in the community. STEM graduates who were born and raised here, or at least went through the school system here, are more likely to stay and contribute to the growth of local industry.”
Armstrong’s Engineering Studies Program has conducted the Each One Teach One initiative for the past four years.
“This program is important because it promotes academic and engineering skills through young mentors who have already realized tremendous success in these areas,” explains June Erskine, EOTO supervisor and instructor of Special Education in Armstrong’s Childhood and Exceptional Student Education department.
For Each One Teach One mentor Savannah Crawford, the opportunity to work with Spencer Elementary School children was priceless.
“I helped make a different in six children’s lives,” she explains. “I helped them better understand math and inspired interest in engineering.”
Over the course of the semester, Spencer Elementary School Students spent an extra 43 hours practicing math, solved more than 5,200 problems and practiced more than 73 different skills. Best of all, they had fun while developing their math and science skills.
Armstrong sophomore Jasmine McLeichey, a Computer Science major from Atlanta, particularly enjoyed the opportunity to witness the progress the students made throughout each session.
“Seeing the students improve over a short amount of time really made my college experience great,” she says. “I've always enjoyed working with children, so when I received an email regarding Each One Teach One, I took it as an opportunity to give a helping hand while showing my love for kids.”