Engineers in Training 2008

Ron Broadnax introduced engineering and explained what engineers do to make An impact on
today's society. The different disciplines of engineering were discussed and the basic
academic tools needed to become an engineer were highlighted. The overall class objective, to
familiarize the student with some basic electrical terminology and to analyze data, was
fulfilled as the students learned how to construct a simple battery. Students were instructed
to divide into teams, as engineers often do, to learn the concept of teamwork. Ron explained
to each team collectively the physical construction of a single dry cell. He explained that a
battery is a collection of cells. Students learned about positive and negative charges,
electrolyte, and basic electric circuits. Ron provided information to the class on the varying
electrical characteristics of different metals. which could? be used to construct a simple
battery. Each team was given two metals and a damp paper towel to use to construct a battery
and a digital voltmeter to measure and record their findings. The teams were instructed to
complete several iterations of metals and record measurements. Following this exercise, each
team analyzed their data to determine which combination of metals yielded the highest
measurement. Several questions concerning the experiment were presented to the class. A
follow-on experiment using a lemon in place of the damp towel was executed with similar
results. Students were impressed that simple household items could be used to construct a
battery. Students were instructed to write up their experiences using the Reflections tool.