All of our projects are based on three guiding principles. First, they need to have strong science and/or math content and a framework to reinforce those connections. Second, they need to contain opportunities via engineering for skills based learning, primarily critical thinking, creative problem solving, communication and collaboration. Finally, they have modular components focused on ideas and techniques that are easily transferable to other projects and units.
Examples of individual projects we have developed and implemented:
Mousetrap Vehicle Project
Design Brief: Design a vehicle powered by a simple mousetrap. Optimize performance for speed, distance or accuracy.
Science Concepts: Energy, work, rotation, forces, friction, inertia.
Engineering Skills: Matrix decision making, organized modification, optimization, systems engineering.
Building a Better World
Design Brief: Design housing or a community structure for flood/storm prone developing regions.
Science Concepts: Buoyancy, Bernoulli’s Principle, strength of materials and structures, forces, thermal properties.
Engineering Skills: Scale modelling, defining criteria and constraints, design of experiment, testing procedures, local material procurement.
Design Brief: Research techniques and pros and cons of engineered and GMO foods. Develop a prototype process for a “beneficial” food.
Science Concepts: Organic chemistry, reactions, nutrition, environmental impacts.
Engineering Skills: Processing techniques, packaging, quality control, reproducibility, marketing.
Design Brief: What is the best way to optimize energy storage?
Science Concepts: Chemical reactions, energy transfers, environmental impacts.
Engineering Skills: Manufacturing processes, suitability, cost/benefit analysis, prototyping.
Design Brief: Develop a prototype of a low tech, low cost hand to improve the quality of life for a chosen patient.
Science Concepts: Biomechanics, anatomy, simple machines, artificial intelligence.
Engineering Skills: Life size prototyping with functionality, materials specification, reliability, design of experiment, test marketing.
Design Brief: Using simulations based on mathematical models, investigate and characterize variables impacting urban roadways and highways.
Science/Math Concepts: Fluid flow models, constrictions, sequencing, queuing, dependence of variables, kinematics, circular motion.
Engineering Skills: Mathematical modelling, control devices, highway design, optimization, process constraints, safety factors.
Global Water Issues
Design Brief: In separate groups, create prototypes and public awareness campaigns about various issues in water access and scarcity
Science Concepts: Hydrodynamics, microbial diseases, chemical and biological pollutants, desalinization, pH, agriculture
Engineering Skills: Purification processes, pumping techniques, irrigation pumps, transportation, cost/benefit, economies of scale, ethical decision making, determination of the water footprint (water use in production)
Alternative Energy Devices/Policies
Materials Science Module for Secondary Schools (in development)
Nanotechnology (in development)
Manufacturing Processes in the Body
Structures: Cardboard Chairs from Scale to Life Size Models
Geometry in Structures: The Mathematics of Truss Design
Failure Analysis: How to Learn from Mistakes
Flight – Aerodynamics and Foil Design
Packaging: Design and Impact
Kinetic Art and Sculpture: Modelling the 4th Dimension (in development)