Young Engineers of Today: Spring 2015 Lab 1 – Catapults

 

We had our first lab for Young Engineers of Today last night and it was a blast. For this first lab we had all students together due to some logistics and scheduling. We had 22 students at class ready and eager to learn.

One thing I learned from the fall semester was starting with a project that they can build successfully in one lab. We need their confidence to boost right away.

The first lab we build a catapult using a kit. It required zero tools, but was very important in teaching them the following:

1. Following directions

2. Reading and processing designs and layouts

3. Patience

4. Learning how to do things by themselves

So often in school we spoonfeed students to the point where they don’t believe that they can do anything on their own. This program challenges students to do things on their own. It challenges them to learn to deal with issues when they try and it does not work. Now, we do help as needed and don’t just let them struggle all night.

Last night after going over procedures, introductions, and labeling our tools we started the kit. After some brief tips I set them free to build. I was reminded about how important this program is when I heard a student say, “So he is just going to let us do by ourselves without making us stay together?”

This was said with excitement. They were eager to be on their own and try.

By the end of the night we had 20/22 students catapults completed. We will finish the other two in our lab next week and continue to build some more ancient engineering devices.

It was a great start and really looking forward to working with these students this semester.

 

Resources

Slidedeck from lab 

Learn more about the program 

 

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