Last Friday we had our first field trip of the new academic school year! About 50 eighth grade students from the Linden STEAM Academy in Malden came to learn about Engineering and the Design process (EDP). In the morning, Jen Morin, a volunteer from AIAA (the Northeastern student rocket club) led a Paper Rockets activity, in which students learned the physics behind model rockets and then had an opportunity to use the Engineering Design Process to brainstorm, plan, and build their own rockets using just paper and tape. After we successfully launched the rockets (only two failures, which is pretty low!), the students split up into three groups to take a campus tour led by our NU volunteers, Kristin and Sophie, Carlin and Kurt, and Jameson and Michael (and Matt). Students visited the Husky statue in Ell, the Natatorium, the Cy Young statue, looked at some Egan labs, and visited the echo spot in the Science Quad (which wasn’t working very well).
During lunch, the students participated in a College 101 session, where they were able to ask the NU volunteers questions about College and STEM in general. They were most surprised by the amount of freedom students have in college (in terms of class schedules), but were slightly intimidated by the amount of homework given in College.
After lunch, the students again used the Engineering Design Process, but this time to solve a different problem: to make a catapult that can accurately and precisely shoot a target, which in this case were Nick and Jameson, the two tallest staff/volunteers in the room. Due to running low on time, the students were only able to go through one cycle of the EDP, but even so, there were some very creative designs, including two very successful designs.
Thank you to all volunteers and to the students and teachers at the Linden STEAM Academy for making this field trip possible!