TECHFIT/TECHFIT-PLUS Program for Students

TECHFIT is an acronym for Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists. TECHFIT-PLUS builds on TECHFIT and is formally titled, "Curriculum and Assessment Design to Study the Development of Motivation and Computational Thinking for Middle School Students across Three Learning Contexts." Both TECHFIT and TECHFIT-PLUS are funded by the National Science Foundation.

The goal of TECHFIT is to build students' enthusiasm for computing, engineering, technology and physical fitness. The TECHFIT program is a research program where accepted student applicants participate in program activities and contribute to our understanding about how this experience impacts their career interests and understanding about computational thinking. TECHFIT will seek feedback from these accepted students about their experiences in completing various interactive, hands-on activities and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. Students who choose to voluntarily apply to participate in TECHFIT can opt out of the program at any time without penalty.

Before students can begin the TECHFIT program at their school, both the student and his/her parents should be provided printed copies of the information sheets:

The teacher(s) should maintain a roster of TECHFIT students. The roster must identify the start date of their TECHFIT program as well as the date when each student and parent were handed the two information sheets identified above. The rosters may be returned to TECHFIT via:
  • Phone call to Alka Harriger OR a TECHFIT student assistant (see BlackBoard for contact details),
  • Postal mail (Alka Harriger, TECHFIT project manager, CIT Department, Knoy 251, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2021), or
  • Hand delivered to Purdue TECHFIT staff when they make a school visit.
In addition, each student must complete the online form to register for the TECHFIT program at his/her school.
Registration allows a random and unique 10-digit ID to be generated for each student, and this ID is required when completing program surveys for TECHFIT that will enable the TECHFIT team to study the effectiveness of TECHFIT as well as make ongoing improvements to the program. Students having difficulty registering online may download the registration form, print it, complete it, and return to TECHFIT researchers via postal mail or delivered in person.

Once a student has been accepted into the program by receipt of the ten-digit TECHFIT ID and approval by a TECHFIT teacher at his/her school, the pre-program survey must be completed ideally online . However, if you encounter difficulty with the online survey, you may print the pre-program survey form, complete it by hand, and return the completed form to TECHFIT researchers via postal mail or email (Loran Parker's email: carleton AT

To preserve the confidentiality of each student's survey feedback, only the TECHFIT project manager and her research team will have access to the original TECHFIT research data. Any reporting of the findings will share only aggregate results.

Students will learn computational thinking, engineering, and technology concepts as well as engage in fitness activities to acquire basic skills to innovate and create their own technology-based fitness games (exergames). The hands-on activities will include computer programming, understanding electricity and safety, using electronics, manufacturing and controls. All students will use tools to construct a variety of animations, software, and exergames. Then all students will engage in the TECHFIT challenge of creating the best exergame based on criteria provided by Purdue University.

Once all students have a basic understanding of all concepts, they will select or be assigned to one or more school sub-teams:

  • S & L (Science and Lifestyle)
  • M & A (Math and Assessment)
  • B & T (Build and Technology)
  • P & G (Promotion and Graphics)
  • C & S (Community and Sustainability)
Each sub-team will support the overall goal of creating the best exergame with broadest appeal and greatest support. In early November, each school's team will submit a video to Purdue for a chance to be invited to the TECHFIT Showcase to be held at Purdue University during the second week in December. The Showcase is a public event, so all schools are encouraged to attend the all-day event. Participating teams will show off their exergame innovations at the TECHFIT Showcase to compete for a variety of awards, including the championship trophy.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation, awards DRL-1312215 and DRL-1640178. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.