Motors, bridges, polymers and more!

It was a beautiful day outside and a perfect day for some intense explorations inside. The students have picked up on camp routines quickly and all were happy to wear their camp tshirts on campus. The groups switched presenters today, so they got to do some modeling, design engineering, and chemical engineering today.

Red/Blue Groups

The students split their time between Dr. Bruce Walcott and Dr. Isabel Escobar’s graduate students today. (If you like TED talks, you can view hers here In both sessions students were introduced to different fields of engineering and got to use their hands to design, build, explore, and test models just as engineers do. In Dr. Walcott’s group, students got to build simple motors and talk about what electrical engineers do. They also tested out their design engineering skills by building a boat out of aluminum foil and seeing how many pennies it held. Dr. Escobar’s graduate students led the students through some fascinating polymer explorations today. They took polymers found in disposable diapers and used hydrochloric acid to break it back down, finding its saturation point. The students loved getting to explore and test! Their favorite part was feeling the particles and getting to smash them.

Green/Yellow Groups

The students worked on design engineering and building models using their mathematical skills with Dr. Thomas. They had a variety of supplies to choose from, but there were stipulations so they really had to get creative. Boy, they really did get creative! From building the tallest tower they could, do discovering their bridge could not even hold an eight-pound infant, they had a lot of fun testing and learning about why bridges are built the way they are.

All four groups…

In robotics, students really dug deep into the programming today. They worked on the football challenge, getting their robot to perform certain tasks. The favorite was figuring out how to make the grabbers work using a different motor! Tomorrow they will start some new challenges and probably get into the Green City and Space Challenge building.

In their words…
Blue/Red Group
  • I learned about polymers, calculous, different types of engineers, and chemical enginee’s roles in everyday life.
  • Polymers can react in interesting ways. Concrete can float if thin and big. we got to actually try it with aluanimum foil.
  • polymers absorb water and a boat with mor volume can hold more wight
  • When some polymers interact with water they turn into jell, when they interact with acid they turn into liquid.
  • That being an engineer is fun
  • How to make a faraday flashlight.
Yellow/Green Group
  • How to build a bridge with Posterboard, Popsickle sticks, and tape
  • That paperclips are super strong
  • Tape and sticks can be very strong
  • I learned about different types of bridges, and how they support weight.
  • Simple structures can Hold a lot of weight.
  • That triangles are a key to architexture.

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue – Drs. Walcott and Escobar:

  • Is there a particular field of engineering that you think might interest you?
  • How many pennies did your boat hold? If you could build it again, what would you do differently?
  • What happened when you mixed the powder and water and turned it upside down?
  • What did the polymers feel like when you touched them? What happened when you tried to smash them?
  • What did you want your robot to do today? How did you get your robot to do what you wanted it to do?

Yellow/Green Groups:

  • What do bridges need to be strong?
  • How did you decide what materials to use for your bridge?
  • How did you decide on your design for your bridge?
  • How did your bridge do when you tested it?
  • How tall was your tower you built?
  • What did you want your robot to do today? How did you get your robot to do what you wanted it to do?

Picture of the Day…

Click the picture to access the rest of camp photos

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