Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#85/365 Engineering challenges! Design and build an earthquake safe building that can withstand a moderate earthquake on the shake table. That is their challenge. There are some guidelines: You only have $20,000 in your group's budget. You have 8 checks to write. And, these supplies are EXPENSIVE! (Even cardboard costs money!) You have a 3 lb. weight limit, a 30 cm height minimum, and your base has to be between a certain sq. cm. You are evaluated on your daily work, your building's performance, and your sharing of results (keynote or touchcast video). So, today was planning. We had some serious designing going on. What is the best shape for the base? What materials do we think will support best? There was budgeting going on. Like real life, you have to pay for those materials (and shake table time). There was measuring, figuring of area, converting units, and discussion of strategy. Seriously, a lot of math talk and explaining to each other. This is why I LOVE engineering projects. The very nature of the project brings in math, science, technology, writing, communication, manipulating materials...it's just good stuff! While some may not see the value in spending the time here, this is where I see students truly stretching their skills. They may not be taking traditional notes. There is plenty of time for that later! Instead, they are examining the value of marshmallows versus cardboard for base isolators. They are considering the possibilities in wooden versus plastic braces. They are checking their budgets to see if they can afford shear walls, tension ties, dampers, and flexible pipes. They are exploring how energy transfers through a system and how they can disperse this energy. Just wait till I throw in the foundation zinger! They have no idea about that curve ball! 😉 #STEM #engineeringchallenge #GetThemThinking #ItReallyWorks


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