Postprint version. Published in Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, Volume 132, Issue 2, April 1, 2006, pages 125-192.
Copyright © 2006 American Society of Civil Engineers.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)1052-3928(2006)132:2(125).
An investigation was conducted to assess the effectiveness of a series of kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12) educational outreach activities related to civil engineering. In particular, a program called Soils Magic that contains a series of simple geotechnical engineering experiments was delivered in various formats to K–12 students. This paper provides an overview of the Soils Magic program and provides further details of selected experiments from the program. This paper highlights the experiences of various civil engineering professors bringing the program to school children to promote the excitement and accessibility of the engineering profession. Suggestions are provided for conducting successful educational outreach programs. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated using survey responses of the program participants. The need for outreach activities that promote science and engineering in an entertaining manner was established using survey responses of K–12 students.
Civil and Environmental Engineering