I had a great time at the 2012 Merit Badge University for Boy Scouts, conducted at Texas A&M University by members of Alpha Phi Omega. I was able to teach four classes through the day in STEM related subjects: Electricity, Electronics and two Inventing merit badge classes. Together, more than 130 scouts, parents and educators attended these classes where I was able to discuss STEM employment related to these fields, while teaching using hands-on demonstrations and exercises.
Kids learn so much more effectively when tey can put their hands on things that are part of their lessons – batteries and bulbs, wires and switches, even microcontrollers (ATtiny85) and Arduinos. The electronics courses were magnificent, with a whole roomful of kids all bent over multimeters and breadboards, wiring up electromagnets and learning to solder printed circuit boards without damaging the tiny components involved.
The entire class loved using the microcontroller chips to build a simple LED control circuit, and laughed out lound when they recognized the SOS pattern I had previously programmed into several of the chips. This set off a search for the other messages in each chip, excercising many different sklls at once as the older scouts showed off the Morse code they learned from the 2010 Historic merit badge, Signaling.