eie 2016
Shodor > SUCCEED > Workshops > Archive > eie 2016

At the beginning of class, Ron Broadnax the lead instructor, introduced himself and the interns, Caroline, Ojas, and Kaleb. Then, he gave an overview of engineering and described all that engineers do. The students supplied what they knew about engineering and Ron gave an overarching definition for the students to use and expand on as the week went on. He then discussed the activities for the week, including structural engineering, electrical engineering, buoyancy and density.

Following this introduction, Ron turned the floor over to Caroline. First, the students were handed LEGOs and a sheet that outlined several structures that they were to make. The students made structures with a 1 x 1 base and created a hypothesis describing which structures would stand and which would fall. The students then tested this hypothesis by building the other structures on the original sheet. The students then constructed a new hypothesis based on their findings.

The students turned their attention to another sheet with more complex structures. At the same time, they were presented with an applet that could replicate the physical models that they were constructing. They built the complex structures as indicated on the sheet and made them on the applet. They also tried to determine what characteristics of the model could predict whether something would stand or topple. Finally, they created a hypothesis that stated that a structure would stand if the center of gravity were over the base and would topple if it were not.

After break, the students moved on to the forces that act upon a structure and how to minimize these forces. The students learned that the triangle is the strongest shape and why other shapes are not as effective. The students then used an applet to model different shapes and structures computationally. There was then a competition in which the students competed to see who could have the least, most force. This means that whoever could minimize their highest force would win the competition. Following the competition, the students learned that minimizing the highest force would lower the chance of a structure breaking. The students then completed reflections and finished class.