Engineers in Training 2002
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First, Garrett started off by teaching the students what Shodor stands for. As it turns out, Shodor stands for short and dorky. This comes from the fact that Bob Panoff (aka Bob1) used to be called the short and dorky professor. The suggested name for Bob's educational organization was short and dorky.

Garrett introduces himself as Dr. Love (because he has a PhD and his last name is Love). He explained that it is a doctorate of philosophy. Garrett studied engineering. After the instructors were introduced, they played a little game to get to know each other and introduce to themselves. The students were reluctant to play. Each student gave an adjective that describes them that begins with the first letter of their first name, as well as their first name. The next person down the line had to say not only their adjective and their name, but the adjective and name for everyone that went before them. After the game, the students were told to cover their nametags and were asked to give the name of other students at random.

Garrett then explained some important things to the class. He told them, "You're all here because you want to be." Garrett explained the importance of paying attention. He let them know that a few moments of not paying attention can result in them being lost completely.

Garrett brought out two bags of M&Ms. The students wrote down a number on a piece of paper. If two students wrote down the same number, instead of getting that number of M&Ms, they only received two. Garrett presented this as an optimization problem. The idea is for the students to get the most M&Ms they can. Garrett told them that in optimization the basic goal is to get the most while working against constraints. In this case, the other students were the constraints. This said, the students wrote down their numbers and names, and Garrett took up the pieces of paper.

Garrett then recorded all the numbers on the board. Six numbers were chosen and three of those numbers were used at least twice. The most M&Ms that were claimed was 14 (the highest possible was 15). While passing out the M&Ms, the students were asked what their strategy was. Some who used the maximum number said they did that because they thought others would be too timid to guess that high. Those who got the most predicted that the others would grab for the most, and picked slightly lower numbers.

What is an Acronym?

It is a word where each letter stands for a different word. The students gave some examples. NASA stands for National Aeronautical Space Administration. LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation.

What does SUCCEED stand for? S: Stimulating (Getting something started, beginning something) Stimulating what? U: Understanding C: Computational science (what is done at Shodor; science with computers) with C: Collaboration (labor and co- put together, which means working together) E: Exploration, E: Experimentation and D: Discovery. What's Exploration? It is exploring something. What does exploring mean? To find something interesting. Has anyone here done an experiment? The students discussed some of their experiences with experimentation. Garrett gave them some everyday examples of experimentation, including taking a little bit of every soda at a fountain drink just to see what it tastes like.

Garrett told the students to organize themselves based on their birthday. This group broke the old record of 45 seconds with 25 seconds. However, it turned out that one of the students was out of order, so their new record was disqualified. Garrett then broke the students up into pairs, according to their birthdays. Garrett then asked the students to give the name for their computers and he recorded them on the board. The computers were: function, cramp, candy, erdMN, ed, transplant, and lobe. There is a puzzle at Shodor involving these names. All those words have something in common as do all the computer names at Shodor. Garrett challenged them to figure this puzzle out by the end of the week.

Garrett told them to go to the Shodor homepage. From there, Garrett directs them to the web page for the Engineers in Training, Session B. There was listed the five projects that they were going to be doing this week. Today, they ound out that they were going to do projects with measurement and optimization.

Garrett asked the students about measurement. According to the students, there are different kinds of measurements. There is length and height (which are about the same, they are both called distance), as well as metric and standard measurements, as well as weight, area, and volume. What is distance measured in? Feet, miles, millimeters, decimeters, centimeters, meters. These include both metric and standard measurements. Weight can be measured in different unit. Units are very important for measurement. Garrett mentioned that kilograms measure mass, and pounds measure weight, which are actually two different things, though on earth, they are very similar. What about area? This is measured in square inches, squared feet, or some other distance-measurement squared. Area is measured in two directions. Area units are denoted by distance measurements squared or with a ^2. Volume is distance measurement in three dimensions. Heat is another important measurement. Heat and temperature are measured in slightly different units, but they can be measured in degrees. There are three main kinds of degrees, including Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin. There is another thing that is measured a lot. Time. They were told that they wouldn't be doing a lot with time today, but they were going to use it more later this week.

The students were given pieces of paper with grids on them, and asked to find the area inside the grid. Some of the students answers were 475, 450, 450 in^2. Garrett explained to them that the answer given in in^2 is better, though not corrent, because it has units. The students continue giving calculations: 483 in^2, 450 cm^2. What is a unit? Right now they're just box units, we don't know if they're centimeters or not. The actual area is 475 units^2. Garrett asked the class if they knew where the inch came from. The answer is the distance from the last joint to the end of a person's thumb. What about the meter? They measured from the top of the North Pole to the equator and divided it by some number, and got the meter.

The students were then instructed to cut off the excess paper from their paper grids. Later the students turned these grids into three-dimensional shapes. They turned the grids into open-faced boxes, and then filled them with sand.

So how do they make them into open-faced boxes? Garrett cut perfect squares that were 3 square units out of the corners of his grid. He then showed how after this is done he can fold along the lines, tape the edges, and make an open-faced box. The volume of the box then would be a function of the size of the squares cut out of the corners. Garrett assigned each student a number of square units to cut out of the corners of their grids. The students received numbers ranging from 1-9, including 3.5 and 6.5. Whose box will have the greatest volume? Each student wrote down a guess, also known as a hypothesis. As the students were taping, Garrett asked them to calculate the area of their grids after they cut the corners out of their grids. After the students are done, Garrett recorded the area of each box. As each student finished constructing their boxes, they took it up to the front of the class where Garrett filled it with sand and weighed it. These boxes have three dimensions. What do we usually use when we talk about these dimensions? Length, width, and height. What's the difference? It depends on how you look at it. The length, width, height, volume, and mass were all recorded for each box on the board.

The students discussed error in measurement and some of the factors that could have caused errors in their measurements. They discussed the warping and bending of the boxes when they were filled with sand and how this could have lead to incorrect measurements of weight. They then examined the data of all of the boxes on the board. Garrett pointed out that some of the dimension data on the board is not correct. This is possibly because they did not follow the convention on which side of the grid was the width, and which was the length. A convention is a special set of rules people follow to make things more uniform and easier to work with. Next, the students observed some formulas and relationships. They opened their computers, and went to DataFlyer on Interactivate, which contains a graphing applet. The students graphed ordered pairs of the cut length verses the length of their box. Garrett explained ordered pairs as a pair of shoes and points out that the order of the pair of numbers is important, and that they must be kept in order, or else the shoe would be on the wrong foot. The first ordered pair is the cut, and the second is the length. The students set their maximum and minimum X and Y-axes values. Then the students entered their data points. One partner read the data off the board and the other partner typed the data into the applet.