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Explorations In Engineering 2013
Shodor > SUCCEED > Workshops > Archive > Explorations In Engineering 2013

Monday was the first day of the Explorations in Engineering class. In the morning, the students learned about thermo-engineering. James taught the students how heat can travel through different objects and effect the overall temperature of substances. Additionally, James taught the students about specific heat and how it can be calculated using the mass of the substance and the before and after temperatures. Next, the students used an applet to demonstrate this knowledge. In this applet students saw different materials being put into a cup of water to determine how the temperature of the water changes. Finally, the students used what they learned to perform an experiment with real objects. The students measured the temperature of the water without any material in it and then took the temperature of the water with the materials in it. They then plugged these numbers into an equation to determine how the materials affect the temperature.

During the afternoon, Dr. Panoff addressed the students. He introduced the students to the main ideas and terms that are integral to the class, and engineering in general, including: "necessary", "sufficient", "consistent", "conclusive", "uncertainty", "convention", "definition", "construction", "evidence", "proof", and "algorithm". After going through many of these terms, Dr. Panoff proceeded to demonstrate to the students how to make observations and come to conclusions by themselves, without relying on outside sources for information. For example, he gave the students 12 eggs. The goal of this task was for the students to discover what was inside of each egg by using non-destructive testing. The students broke up into groups and tried to decide what was in each egg by spinning it, shaking it by their ear, and a variety of other things. After the students decided whether each egg was raw or hardboiled, Dr. Panoff cracked open each egg to reveal what was inside of it. Once the eggs were cracked, the students were surprised to discover that instead of the yolk being inside many of the eggs, there were different kinds of liquid. The point of this activity was to show that although the students could discover whether there was liquid or solid objects inside the eggs through non-destructive testing, in order to truly know what was inside of the eggs, they must break the eggs open. Finally, Dr. Panoff showed the students the danger of believing everything they read on the Internet. He had them search the "mass of Earth". Although Google provided them with a quick, seemingly accurate answer, once the students looked at a few of the websites, they discovered that there were a variety of answers, each of which greatly differed from the others. This class provided the students with the foundation to understand the basics of this class, and the essentials of engineering.