Engineers in Training 2003
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Garrett started the class with a talk about engineering. He explained to the students that a node is a point and a member is a line segment that runs between two nodes. As an example of tension and compression, he had a styrofoam tube with a grid in the middle. When the tube was bent, the grid on the outside tensed, and the inside compressed. Then, the students used an applet to simulate tension and compression to various shapes. They added pressure to various nodes on different structures. The experience gained through the computer applet allowed the students to begin to predict the amount of weight each structure could support.

After building structures on the applet, Garrett handed out two cups, 50 straws, and some pins, and challenged each team to build a real life structure. The structure had to hold two cups that were not touching the ground. The structure that could hold the most marbles would win. Unfortunately, the time ran out before students could finish their structures, so Garrett decided to continue the activity tomorrow.