In honor of National Engineering Week, the eighth-grade class experimented, explored, and investigated in STEAM activities on Friday, February 22nd. STEAM activities integrate aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
During a morning field trip to ArtsQuest, students viewed “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” (see trailer below) and engaged in a question & answer session with a panel of engineers. The engineers also shared stories of solving problems in the real world, such as analyzing the soil to prevent future landslides and working on building an underground tunnel.
When we returned to campus, students participated in two of the following STEAM stations:
Capsule – Engineers built a simulated NASA crew vehicle that could be dropped from two feet above the water. The hatch had to remain closed and float for one minute, with two passengers safely housed inside.
Windy City – Student engineers worked to create a tower made of paper and tape that reached a specified height and was able to support a large metal washer. Once constructed, the towers were tested to determine how well they could withstand the force of the wind from a fan.
Humanoid Robot – Programmers needed to successfully navigate their human-robot around an obstacle course by only using precise, verbal instructions. The robot was blindfolded for this experience and the groups had the opportunity to calibrate the program several times until they could navigate correctly through the course.
Slime – Our young chemical engineers were given an overview of the process for making slime using polyvinyl alcohol and sodium tetraborate solutions. Groups were then assigned the task of experimenting with various ratios of these solutions to create the best slime. They were also given some additional ingredients to experiment with including shaving cream, food color, foaming hand soap, and hand lotion. Fortunately, the amount of fun far exceeded the amount of mess.
See a video of the stations in action below:
From now through March 25th, the American Society of Civil Engineers is sponsoring a Lehigh Valley Bridge Design Contest to build a bridge the most efficient way. This contest is open to all middle and high school students. Participants use free computer software to design a bridge that will support a truck. The challenge is to make a working design that has the lowest cost. Top scorers in both the middle and high school contests will be invited to a final competition at Lehigh University. Visit the link for more details.