Highlights of the six week program with 12- 14 year olds
The Pop Fly! Challenge
The focus of this session was to engage participants in an open-ended activity which encourages them to see engineering as a creative problem solving technique / approach that the ‘every day’ person is able to use. Participants were also introduced to the design process and how to apply it to their first hands-on activity.
The purpose of this session was for students to learn how to design a device that can launch a ping pong ball and hit a target.
Helping Hand Challenge
The session focused on the following concept: In order to grab something a device needs two arts or arms that can go on each side of the item being grabbed. The grabber also needs to have a way to press the two arms together to make a pinching motion. Participants were shown different levers (tongs and scissors) pointing out that each device is a lever, with a fulcrum and arms.
Participants were then tasked with using materials (mentioned above, including split pins) to design and build their lever or ‘helping hand’. Their lever needed to be strong enough to be used to reach and lift a plastic bag (filled with sweets) off a hook placed above head height and hold onto the bag.
Safe Landing Challenge
The purpose of this design is to create an object that can protect a container so it’s not damaged when dropped to the ground.
During this session, the participants focused on strengthening their understanding of the design process by focusing on the brainstorming and design steps. The participants discovered ways to design a shock absorbing system protect a container as it drops to the floor.
Participants were exploring gravity, air resistance and how works to lessen the impact of a fall parachutes.
The participants also learned that safe landing designs help in situations where the only way people can receive food, medicine and other essential supplies is by dropping them from the plane.
The Seismic Shake-up Challenge
This session focused on the having the participants design a structure that can withstand an earthquake.
After the recent small earthquakes that have been happening in Botswana the participants were glad to know that there are designs that can actually prevent damages.
The participants designed a structure that has a bit of space underneath the house foundation. They mentioned that this helps prevent the house from falling apart.
"We should leave some space under the house to prevent it from cracking up or falling apart."