As part of MA STEM Week, on October 22nd, the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission Grammar School from Boston (virtually) attended a field trip with us, learning about engineering and the design process. We began the day with an intro to engineering presentation, following this up by practicing the engineering design process by building paper towers: making towers as tall as possible with just a single piece of paper and 6 inches of tape. Some really interesting design ideas, including taping the towers to bases underneath the tower (since the towers aren’t allowed to be taped to the table), which provides a large flat surface for the tower to stick to, and making multiple towers and then taping them together for extra stability, similar to how the Petronas Towers in Malaysia are built (see image to right).
After trying their hand at engineering, students participated in a virtual discussion about the things engineers (particularly Mechanical engineers) design and make, through our “What is This Thing?” activity. Therein, students made educated guesses about what each “thing” is, what it’s for, and what it might be called. As it stands, this activity is a bit too long (i.e. too many images), so I have trimmed down the activity for the future (see shortened version).
At the end of the day, we wrapped up with our STEM/College 101, which was led by two of our S-POWER scholars, Madisyn and Tyree; their short presentations can be seen below.