On Thursday, April 29th, we had our last field trip of the semester! The Boyden Elementary School from Walpole came for a special field trip, learning about engineering. The vast majority of our field trips have been for students in grades 4-6, occasionally teaching students in grades 7-9. This field trip however was for 2nd grade students, our youngest field trip since I started here (6 years ago). The 45 students were split up over 4 classrooms, with students physically in their classrooms, doing the activities. NU Volunteers Hadeel, Samantha, Sam, and Madisyn all came to help (this was finals’ week, so thank you very much for attending!).
The 2nd graders learned about Engineering and the Design Process, and did two introductory, hands-on activities to learn more about and practice being engineers (problem-solvers!). The presentation for the day can be found here. The students started with a Fairytale Civil Engineering activity, designing and improving paper houses for the Three Little Pigs to live in and resist the big bad wolf (played by a literal fan) blowing on their houses. Students were given just a single piece of paper and 6 inches of tape to build their houses, and then were allowed to tape their houses down in front of the wolf to see how well their house survives. Using what they learned from their own and their classmates’ successes and failures, they improved their designs, as an engineer using the Engineering design process would, and built better and stronger houses.
Afterwards, students practiced their mechanical engineering skills, using recycled materials to build desk organizers, first planning out what purpose and components their organizer will need, drawing a plan for their device, and finally creating and improving their ideas.
Unfortunately, due to the students being in the classroom and not all having photo releases, we were unable to take any pictures of the students. However, the houses they built and the organizers they made were all super interesting! A real bummer I can’t show some of them! As we are planning to be in person again for next year’s field trips, we’ll definitely have to invite this 2nd grade class back to Norteastern, as it was a blast teaching these younger students, both for myself and for the NU student volunteers.