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Civil engineer shares ‘Dot,’ own experiences with Tillery students

With the help of a book and a couple characters, a Department of Transportation employee helped Tillery Christian Academy students form a science club recently.
Kellie Crump, a civil engineer with NCDOT, gave a presentation to students using the book “Dot: The ‘Littlest’ Civil Engineer,” publication of the department.

After a reading and gift of the book to each child, Crump led the classes in two hands-on engineering projects. In one, each child built a dam using rock, sand and fabric.

“The challenge was to pour water in their containers and see if their dam was successful at holding back the water,” Crump explained.

“They also divided into two teams and built suspension bridges,” she added. “The students used chairs, cardboard, duct tape and string to build a suspension bridge. The bridges were tested to see which bridge could hold the most load without collapsing.”

Crump says she wanted to show students how fun science can be, and at the same time get them to think of civil engineering as a possible career choice.

“Allowing children to use multiple senses to learn is key to storing it in their long-term memory,” she said.

“Working in groups allows for developing team building skills,” she added.

“Allowing children to build something with their hands builds self-confidence.”
Beverly McIntyre, headmistress at the school located on the campus of Memorial Baptist Church, agrees that “when learning comes to life through experiences like these, the knowledge sticks with kids, and that is our goal.”

“Kellie’s enthusiasm for science was contagious; our students are now on fire for science,” McIntyre added. “When we surveyed students to gauge interest in joining a science club, few were interested until we reminded them that science involves activities like the bridge and dam building they had done with Kellie’s presentation. Students gained a new respect for science as something useful and exciting and not just a boring subject within the pages of another textbook.”

While this was Crump’s first presentation to a class, she is open to future presentations. She said anyone wishing a visit to a classroom can call or text her at 980-439-6363.

Have a story idea? Contact B.J. Drye at 704-982-2123, bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.