Engineering Explorations – Off to the Races

Engineering Explorations – Off to the Races

It was off to the boat races! After a week of perfecting their designs, our engineers finally had the chance to test out their boats. There were two races – one that tested for the speed of the boat and one that tested the load capacity of the boat. First, the boats raced to see which one was the fastest, with there being one winner overall. After that, the boats were set stationary in the water and weight was added to see which design was the lightest while also holding the most weight. Some groups chose to focus on speed while others focused on the load capacity. Were their designs successful in the end? Ask your camper to find out! 

Ask your camper: What did your boat look like, and how did it hold up during the races?

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Engineering Explorations – Rube Goldberg

Engineering Explorations – Rube Goldberg

Second-to-last day of our engineering extravaganza week and our enterprising engineers should be feeling very excited and proud as their Rube Goldberg projects are starting to come to completion. Today students continued testing and troubleshooting their actions and working to link the actions of their simple machines together within their larger contraption to ensure that their machine is iterative (repeatable) and reliable. Teams then proceeded to document their inventions so that they are ready to present their creations to the whole on our final day tomorrow.

Ask your camper: What were some obstacles you had to troubleshoot and find solutions for your invention today?

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Engineering Explorations – Hull Designs

Engineering Explorations – Hull Designs

Our engineers worked hard the last two days to create a boat that floats and holds weight with a working propeller. The next step was to design an ideal hull for their boats. First our campers learned about the different hull types and the situations they are best used for. After researching the types and identifying points of failure in each one, our campers went back to the drawing board and revamped their own boats. The campers chose whether to create a hull that focused on speed, holding weight, or a combination of both!

Ask your camper: What are points of failure? Aspects of the design or building that are either additional constraints or are not conducive to the solution

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Engineering Explorations – Quantities in Circuits

Engineering Explorations – Quantities in Circuits

Our Electrical Engineers were challenged to study and measure the voltage of different batteries using a particular type of equipment called a multimeter. But first, they ranked a variety of batteries based on what they thought was logical (usually size/shape).  Campers then measured the voltage of each battery to determine whether or not they need to revise their initial rankings. It was quite a “shock” that a huge D battery has the same amount of voltage as a much smaller AAA battery (1.5v) and a tiny coin battery has more voltage (3v) than a big D battery (1.5v). 

Ask your camper: Why would differently-sized batteries be needed if they all (AAA, AA, C and D) have the same voltage (1.5v)? (depends on the amount of current that is needed for the device that requires batteries)

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Engineering Explorations – Model Lungs

Engineering Explorations – Model Lungs

Our biomedical engineers have just arrived at Summer @ IMSA and they are ready for a challenging task! Today, in Engineering Explorations, the students learned about the anatomy of the heart and lungs and how they function in the human body. Our bioengineers built their own working model of a lung and demonstrated how the diaphragm works based on air pressure differentials. The end goal of the day was to relate the lung model to relevant heart anatomy and physiology.

Ask your student: What is the purpose of the diaphragm in the respiratory system? (Each breath begins with a contraction of a dome-shaped sheet of muscle underneath the lungs called the diaphragm. During inhalation (taking air into your lungs) your diaphragm contracts, or flattens downward, which reduces pressure in the chest cavity. Normal outside air pressure is higher, which forces air through the nose and mouth, down the trachea and into the lungs where pressure is lower (pressure systems move from high to low). On the other hand, upon exhalation your diaphragm relaxes, which increases pressure on the lungs and forcing air, containing carbon dioxide, out of the body.)

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Engineering Explorations: Rube Goldberg Machines

Engineering Explorations: Rube Goldberg Machines

Today students made their final adjustments to their system of Rube Goldberg machines!! Campers used their knowledge of machines they have acquired throughout the week in conjunction with their awesome experiences working as engineering teams to refine, retest, and redesign aspects of their Rube Goldberg apparatuses, as needed!!  Each group demonstrated their work to the rest of the class as a culmination of their hard work and dedication!

Ask your student: How did your teams’ machine perform during the competition? (answers vary, by team)

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Solar Cars – Engineering Explorations

Solar Cars – Engineering Explorations

Today, our engineers explored how their knowledge could be applied to the real world, by building solar cars! In this first part of a two part lesson, the students tested how different types of light effected their motors. Then, they got the wheel rolling by creating the body of their solar cars. Tomorrow they’ll complete their cars and put them to the test!

Ask your student: What is a solar cell? (It’s the “battery” of the car; it converts light into energy)

Fun fact:  The first solar cars were built in the 1950’s.

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Engineering Explorations – Parallel and Series Circuits

Engineering Explorations – Parallel and Series Circuits

Today, campers explored the difference between a basic (single-load) circuit and more complex circuits in series and parallel (with 2+ loads) using tape circuit templates! They discovered that series circuits may not be as efficient as parallel circuits and were challenged to create multi-load circuit paths with copper tape, coin batteries and LED lights.

Ask your camper: What is voltage drop? (in a series amount of voltage decreases after each load; in our case the LED lights further along the circuit path weren’t as bright)

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Engineering Explorations – Model Heart Valve

Engineering Explorations – Model Heart Valve

Our body tissues are made up of cells that need oxygen to do work, and give off carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Using this knowledge, the biomedical engineers designed a model heart valve! The most difficult part of the engineering process was discovering how to make the “blood” only travel in one direction. The engineers tried lots of methods and refined their designs. The campers learned how important it is for the blood to flow in one direction!

Ask your camper: Why is it important for blood flow to be unidirectional?

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Engineering Explorations @ Aurora – Monday: Mini Lung Models

Engineering Explorations @ Aurora – Monday: Mini Lung Models

Today, in Engineering Explorations, the students learned about the anatomy of the heart and lungs and how they function in the human body. Our bioengineers built their own working model of a lung and demonstrated how the diaphragm works based on air pressure differentials. The end goal of the day was to relate the lung model to relevant heart anatomy and physiology.

Ask your student:

What is the purpose of the diaphragm in the repertory system? (Each breath begins with a contraction of a dome-shaped sheet of muscle underneath the lungs called the diaphragm. During inhalation (taking air into your lungs) your diaphragm contracts, or flattens downward, which reduces pressure in the chest cavity. Normal outside air pressure is higher, which forces air through the nose and mouth, down the trachea and into the lungs where pressure is lower (pressure systems move from high to low). On the other hand, upon exhalation your diaphragm relaxes, which increases pressure on the lungs and forcing air, containing carbon dioxide, out of the body.)

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