Engineers in Training
The kids started off by defining engineer. Then they names types of engineer: Bio, Electric, Mechanic, Computer. Garrett then told them that Engineer came from Latin word ingenarare meaning To Create. They also found out that science comes from the latin word Sciere meaning To understand. They lined off shortest to tallest in order to divide into pairs.
The students conducted simple experiments to determine how stable a simple lego structure (ranging from 1 to 8 blocks) is. During this time they learned the importance of recording scientific data. As the experiment progressed, they learned how scientific models are analyzed and how to make a counterexample. After they developed counterexamples they tried to come up with a rule that determined whether a structure would stand or not. They then modeled the same experiment on a computer to see if the computer model matched the real world data. The computer model helped them create a rule for balancing lego structures.
Solomon then taught the students about tension and compression (In Straw We Truss). Solomon demonstrated these principles using a block of foam with lines on it that he let the kids push and pull on. He then showed tension and compression occurring simultaneously by making an ark of the foam block. They put all of this together to figure out how trusses in work. An applet was used to model trusses with fixed and floating nodes.