Engineering Exploration Week – Feb 20th – Feb 24th 2024

The Michael B. Silevitch and Claire J. Duggan Center for STEM Education ran their 5th annual Engineering Exploration Week on Tuesday, February 20th to Friday, February 24th. During Engineering Exploration Week, we invited students for a week long program to learn exciting STEM concepts and apply them to fun projects.

We began the week by introducing the students to the Engineering Design Process. This sets the foundation for the rest of the week as students learn what it means to be an engineer and how they are engineers! As engineers, they then learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN Goals) so they can identify its connection to the activities throughout the week. After building this foundation, they then they set off to explore Professor Rifat Sipahi’s Research Lab where they learned about control systems and mechatronics. There they helped assembled a 3D printed robot arm created for Northeastern University’s first year engineering classes. The students were also invited to a tour of the Makerspace where they were able to laser cut their own keychain with Professor Jennifer Love! After eating lunch at the Curry Student Center, the group broke up into teams where they went on a Campus wide scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt ended at the Bamboo Tent in Mugar where the students were invited to enjoy some cookies with Northeastern University’s College of Engineering Dean – Gregory D. Abowd. We ended the first day of Engineering Week with one final activity – Sumo Hexbugs! Students got to keep their very own Hexbug which they modified to compete in a sumo style competition.

Wednesday, February 21st was all about UN’s Goal – Good Health and Well-Being. The students started with a nice and relaxing morning yoga session where they learned about how their mind and bodies are connected. To learn more about this connection, the students were invited to Northeastern University’s Epic Brain Lab where they perform an electroencephalogram (EEG) on Program Manager Nicolas Fuchs. Students were amazed at how much the brain wave changed as he performed everyday tasks like blinking! After working their mind and bodies, the hungry students had a chance to experience a college dining hall experience at International Village. The students were then invited to ISEC by Professor Sandra Shefelbine where they learned all about bones and how to test the strength of bones. There they performed a three point bend test on wooden skewers to see how much weight it can withstand before snapping. And to tie up Good Health and Well-Being, we ended the day with the reverse egg drop activity. With this activity, students learned about the importance of the brain and why it is essential to protect your head. And with the egg representing the head and the yolk as the brain, the students split into groups to construct a safe landing pad to protect their eggs from an 8 foot drop!

On the following day, Thursday, February 22nd, the students learned about the UN Goal Infrastructure and Industrialization. The students learned about Natural Disasters and how they affect our environment. As environmental engineers, the students worked in teams to construct deployable levees to help prevent the water from reaching members of a city. We then learned about Civil Engineering with the Center for Stem’s student Program Staff and 4th year Civil Engineer Landon Wade. The students had a chance to use StreetMix where they worked to construct either the biggest street, the greenest street and their dream street.

Friday, February 23rd was the day of the Engineering for Everyone Expo where booths were set up with various STEM-related table top activities. Students were able to explore many STEM topics including robotics, physics, and biology. Thanks to all of the participating Northeastern University student groups, the students were able to create balloon rockets, control a robotic arm, and build hurricane towers. On this last day, the students were also invited to Northeastern University’s Earthquake lab where they attempted to build towers to withstand the vibrations created from the shake table. They watched as their building would sway and shake in hopes that it was sturdy enough from tumbling down! And to end the week long program, the students built their confidence through one-minute ted talks. After being presented with a prompt, students stood in front of the class to give an insightful speech about their chosen topic.

Thank you to all of the students who got involved during our week long program, it was a pleasure learning along side each and everyone of you! We hope you enjoyed your time and learned a lot about STEM! We’d also like to thank everyone who volunteered and participated throughout this week long event. Without your help, this would not be possible. We’re looking forward to see you all again next year!

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