Course Profile

Goals of the Course

The purpose of eVOL10 is to help rising tenth graders learn about engineering including Maker activity, provide an introduction to chemistry, provide information on engineering careers, and offer ACT preparation. The program help introduce students to STEM areas and Maker activities.

Who is it designed for?

Participants apply for the Engineering Volunteers for Tenth Graders (eVOL10) summer program and are selected as space allows. The students are rising tenth graders from Tennessee as well as other states.

Learning Objectives

  • To improve performance on ACT Math/English/Reading/Science fundamentals
  • Receive an introduction to basic fundamentals of Chemistry
  • Apply chemistry fundamentals to a hands-on engineering design project
  • Learn teamwork and develop communication skills

Maker skills it develops

The skills learned include using various tools, skills in developing and planning projects, team work and oral and written skills. The proficiencies expected are an established level of teamwork and involvement in group project.


Students must submit a complete application including math/science references, essay, transcript with minimum “B” average in math/science, and ACT explore scores.

Skills, Tools and Technologies Used

Students work in teams of four within a Chemistry lab receiving instruction on safety, experimentation, data collecting, and developing conclusions based on results. The laboratory tools used in fabrication are essential in completing the engineering design project objectives. The students are mostly expected to have knowledge of the tools used except in few specialized laboratory equipment.

Key Examples and Prior Work

Student participants have to design and build a chemical powered car to base on the requirements and materials listed below:

Car Requirements:

1. The team should come up with an identity (name and logo) and include the identity in the car.

2. Use the least amount of supplies within the kits to construct the car.

3. Apply the chemical reaction as fuel/operation mechanism for the car.

4. Use the least amount of bicarb and acetic acid. Should not exceed 12.8g of sodium bicarbonate and 10 mL of acetic acid.

5. Car must start initial run based on chemical reaction.

6. The car which travels the farthest is determined the winner.

7. Team members must wear safety equipment at all times of test and competition trials.

Car Materials:

• Cleaning Materials

• Duct tape

• Appropriate containers such as water bottles 

Key Resources

To manage and keep record of the project, the students are introduced to the Engineering Design Process (Engineering Education Service Center) with focus on the following:

  • Brainstorming
  • Design
  • Analyze
  • Build
  • Testing

Appropriate reading material and manuals are provided.

Example Assignment

After completing the chemical powered car project, students are required to present a group PowerPoint presentation based on the following criteria:

  • Introduction
  • Understand the need/what is the Problem?
  • Brainstorming/Ideas
  • Plan and Procedures/Materials
  • Testing/Results/Improve
  • Conclusion
  • Future Work

The presentation allows each group to share the process used in building their product, challenges faced, and what was learned from the experience.

Lessons Learned

The lessons learned include dealing with teaching challenges in instruction of high school students particularly when hands on projects and team work are essential. Teaching design process and engineering workmanship are also among challenges that are dealt with and lessons learned. Surveys are used to measure the success of the course and interest in engineering and Maker hands-on experiences. Based on the survey, 94% were pleased with the experience and expressed interest to pursue careers in engineering.