In order to promote the pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers among Kindergarten through 12th grade students (K-12), a partnership between the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Women in Defense (WID)-a non-profit national security organization-has been established. The collaborative effort commenced as a result of the WID STEM Initiative (STEMi); a program that aims to actively encourage and inspire youth of the United States (US) to seek STEM careers. The UAH/WID partnership was initiated within a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) capstone design class at UAH that focuses upon the design and fabrication of unique and patentable products. In order to target the K-12 age groups, the UAH/WID effort centered upon the development of products that would inspire the younger students and allow them the opportunity to interact with a hands-on artifact that conveys a specific STEM phenomenon. Several of these artifacts-referred to as STEM tools-have been developed as a result of the UAH/WID collaboration and include the following: fluid flow circuit, interactive solar system, trebuchet, ballistic pendulum, pulley system, and a Wimshurst machine-to name a few. The hands-on STEM tools motivate younger students, as interacting with hardware reinforces theoretical concepts presented in the classroom. While the primary goal of the UAH/WID partnership is to develop the future STEM workforce by inspiring younger students, through hands-on STEM tool interaction, other critical benefits have resulted. Specifically, the engineering design students have garnered invaluable experience associated with meeting stakeholder expectations, designing with safety as a top-level criterion, as well as gaining teaching experience via lessons directed to the K-12 students. Survey data gathered from the K-12 students and teachers clearly indicates that the younger students are inspired and motivated to seek a STEM education and career as a result of the UAH/WID effort. The current paper provides an overview of the UAH/WID partnership, a description of the resulting STEM tools developed, and data conveying the learning outcome and impact that the UAH/WID partnership has had upon the K-12 students, their teachers, and the engineering students at UAH.

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