Friday, July 10, 2015

Emerging Engineers

The engineering design process
Monday was our first day of camp!  Campers learned the basics of the engineering design process when they arrived, ideas that they would use and refer back to all week.  After a brief presentation on the different kinds of bridges and the civil engineers who build them, campers built their own suspension bridges.  Structurally, suspension bridges are very strong, a fact that we tested with our own bridges by adding measured amounts of weight to them.  We also tested our understanding of the importance of structure and physics with our build and arch challenge.  Campers worked together to stack boxes into a secure arch using no adhesives, just the power of a properly placed keystone.   We problem solved
like real energy to build a tunnel through the sand without using our hands as tools and built speedy shelters out of everyday materials.

One of our speedy shelters

On Tuesday, we focused on aerospace engineering.  We learned about how engineers need to make trade offs and test their designs in order for things to get off the ground.

A rocket going a long distance needs to have a lot of fuel, but that's also a lot more weight that needs to be lost somewhere else.  We built our own rovers and for different missions with this in mind.  We also made our own stomp rockets to send on these missions from the moon to Pluto!

Mars Curiosity rover
 Rockets also house our space exploration vehicles so they need to be very safe to protect their cargo.  We made our own "rover" drop vehicles designed to protect our egg rovers from any harsh conditions.

Having a blast with bubbles
On Wednesday, we learned about materials engineering.  Engineers don't just make cars and planes, they make the everyday tools we use from medical equipment to bubble wands.

Engineers are all about improvements so we used our brains to come up with a new way to hold our soda cans without the plastic rings which can hurt animals.  We also used scraps of other materials and upcycled them into our own vehicles.

 Campers also had to complete our bubble challenges, outside.  Using a series of different materials we tried to make giant bubbles, many bubbles in one blow, bouncy bubbles and more.

Building our car
We caught one!

Recycled racer!
Thursday's camp was all about mechanical engineering!  We made 3 different kinds of racers!  Our slingshot car utilized the potential energy from the tension of a taut rubber band and converted it to kinetic energy to make them go!  We also built and raced K'NEX cars!  Many children who don't have access to already engineered toys come up with clever ways to build their own.  We used this idea for our recycled racer.  Using boxes, cups, Popsicle sticks, and everything else we could find, we built working toy cars!


Building our K'NEX cars

Building a robot!
Friday was our last day of camp and we spent it making programmable robots!  Each group attended a workshop on how to build and then program a toy using Legos and an intuitive programming system.

Our younger campers built lions and alligators able to follow visual or movement based commands.
Programming our toy lion!

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Our older campers assembled and battled sumo wrestling robots!  We had a great time this week at camp and hope your camper did, too!
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Building our Sumo-bots!

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