On Friday, October 18th, in partnership with professor Eno Ebong, 35 x 7th and 8th grade students from St. Agatha Catholic School came to Northeastern University for a STEM field trip, learning all about the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Students learned the steps in the EDP and why engineers use it and that engineering is composed of a variety of different disciplines, such as bioengineering, civil engineering, and industrial engineering.
The visiting students then became engineers themselves – brainstorming, designing, building, testing, and improving their designs – making catapults out of popsicle sticks to be as accurate (how close to the target) and precise (how consistent) as possible – collecting as many points whilst shooting at (human) targets. Points were given based on where on the target the projectile (a skittle) hit: 1 point for arms/legs, 3 points for the torso, and 5 points for the face. The final results, over two different testing phases, can be seen above. Two teams scored over 10 points, which is really good: making accurate/precise catapults is actually quite hard, and over all the schools who have completed this activity, the score is usually 0-3 points total.
Students also visited the Earthquake lab (News@NU), where they learned about resonance frequency and designed, tested, and built K’NEX structures to survive a simulated Earthquake. Most designs survived the initial earthquake, but as the earthquake magnitude was dialed up in subsequent tests, eventually all structures failed; some quite spectacularly. Students also had the chance to feel an earthquake, by standing on the shake table and feeling the vibrations of a simulated earthquake.
St. Agatha students also participated in College 101 – asking Northeastern student volunteers questions about Northeastern and college in general; particular topics of interest were sports, the freedom and time management of a college schedule, and homework levels in college. After the 101 session, students went on a campus tour – viewing and walking by various parts of campus, such as the husky statue (and rubbing its nose), the natatorium, and academic buildings.