Join Civil Engineer Carrie Feuer P.E. as we explore what things around us are engineered and brainstorm/prototype our own inventions!
As kids are arriving, display non-fiction, biography, picture book & fiction books on engineering & inventions – optional read one to the early arrivals. 609s, 620s, plus Dotty Inventions (and Some Real Ones Too) – Roger McGough (J609 MCG), Rosie Revere, Engineer - Andrea Beaty (& her Iggy Peck, Architect), The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires, If I Built a Car / House – Chris Van Dusen, Hooray for Inventors – Marcia Williams (609.22 WIL) (graphic novel), So You Want to Be an Inventor – 608 St. George, Girls Think of Everything– Catherine Thimmesh (609.2 THI), Imaginative Inventions 609 HAR, Incredible Inventions: Poems 811.008 INC,11 Experiments that Failed – Jenny Offill, You Choose (JFic You) series.
Biographies about: Elijah McCoy (The Real McCoy, All Aboard), Edison, Jacques Cousteau, Leonardo Da Vinci, Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein, It’s a Snap: George Eastman’s First Photograph, The Man Who Made Time Travel – Lasky (JB Harrison), Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs – Meghan McCarthy, Spic-and-Span: Lillian Gilbreath’s Wonder Kitchen – Monica Kulling, Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World - Elizabeth Rusch, In the Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps Its Up -- Monica Kulling, The (Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer, Ben Franklin’s Big Splash – Barb Rosenstock
Opened by asking: What is engineering? What is an engineer? What do engineers do? Do they know any engineers.
“Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been.” --Theodore van Karman, physicist and NASA aerospace engineer
Explore the Engineering Design Process:
Group the kids into teams (<= 4 people) – challenge: “design and build a device that will slow the descent (define) of an object” (The original SciGirls resources used the word “parachute” but the scigirls training suggested making it a more open-ended challenge – the directions below have been modified to reflect that.)
Before they start designing -- Ask – why would you need something like this? (SciGirls research discovered that girls particularly like to think about reasons for tech) Possible answers: people jumping out of airplanes, humanitarian delivery of food or medicine to places that a plane can’t land, escape from a tall building…
Parachute Parade www.pbs.org/parents/scigirls/activities/parachute-parade/
- Several items from this list: plastic wrap, tissues, paper towels, plastic bags, tissue paper, coffee filters, handkerchiefs, straws
- 1 toy minifigure (Lego, for example)
- string or thread or yarn
- paper and pencil
- optional: stopwatch
- Your challenge is to make something that will slow the descent of a toy minifigure (You can work in groups of up to 4 people).
- Take a few minutes to brainstorm designs before beginning.
- Then we’ll test them and see how they work. We’ll see which design helps our Lego guy/gal to fall the slowest (has the most drag).
- We can make a prediction before testing. (Stand on a chair and use a stopwatch to time each descent and/or hold two at the same height and drop them at the same time – which has the most drag?)
- Look at your results. Was your prediction correct? Why did one minifigure descend slower than another?
More info at scigirlsconnect.org/
additional pictures of an unconventional mechanical engineer – Lyra Levin, Chief Mechanical Engineer at Megabots.com – building a 15ft high robot & hanging from one of its arms…
and at Burning Man 2015 building a musical Tesla coil:
More Pix at https://www.facebook.com/coupdefoudre2014
Join Civil Engineer Carrie Feuer P.E. as we do hands-on explorations of how water goes from dirty to clean.