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Area Teachers Become Students During
School of Engineering’s “da Vinci Project”
Released: July 11, 2005

Release # 05058
Kevin McLaughlin
School of Engineering
(860) 486-5536

Michael Kirk,
Media Relations
(860) 486-0715

STORRS , Conn.– Ten teachers from Connecticut and surrounding states returned to the classroom this week as participants in the University of Connecticut School of Engineering’s da Vinci Project, a five-day workshop series providing them with new teaching tools to integrate into their classes.

“Engineering is a discipline that traditionally receives less attention in high school curricula,” said Amir Faghri, dean of the School of Engineering. “For this reason, we have developed various outreach programs, including the da Vinci Project, geared to introduce engineering to talented high school students. By specifically targeting middle and high school math and science teachers, the da Vinci Project provides an important intellectual portal in the classroom. Though this is only our sixth year with the workshop, we are excited by the success, enthusiasm and enormous promise of this unique program.”

“We want to present workshops to provide things that will be of interest not only to science and math teachers, but also to their students,” said Kevin McLaughlin, the director of the project.

This year, teachers will spend 18 hours in workshops led by UConn faculty members for the participants. Members of the media are welcome to attend any. They are:

  • Construction and Operation of a Fuel Cell(Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center, 9-11:45 a.m. and 3-4:45 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday). The teachers will learn to build their own fuel cell from raw materials that run on water. (Dr. Alla Smirnova)
  • Bio Materials: Bones, Joints, Tissues (IMS and Engineering II, 9-11:45 a.m. and 3-4:45 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday). The teachers will create their own synthetic bones and test them to see if they can simulate the properties of actual bone. (Dr. Teresa Hennessey)
  • Mathematical Optimization and Game Theory (Information Technologies Engineering 127, 9-11:45 a.m. and 3-4:45 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday). Participants will investigate several accessible programs in discrete mathematics that have discrete and elegant solutions that will spark interest in a secondary school audience. (Drs. Peter Luh and Alex Russell)

Teachers also will have the opportunity to tour the UConn wastewater treatment plant, where they will learn about civil engineering and chemical engineering aspects of treatment facilities and processes (2-3 p.m. Wednesday), and a geotechnical laboratory at the (F.L. Castleman Building from, 1-2 p.m. Wednesday), where they will learn the various branches of civil engineering and the academic disciplines that equip students for an engineering education, before participating in demonstrations.

For more information on the da Vinci project, please visit: http://www.engr.uconn.edu/davinci/


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