Celebrating Engineers Week With Some MSU Urban STEM Fun!

Our fellows know how to add their own element of fun to Engineers Week!  During the week of February 21st, engineers all over the nation took opportunities to reflect and take pride in the art of engineering.  MSU Urban STEM classrooms brought engineering to new levels. Students built heat efficient model homes, created weight bearing aluminum boats and even dabbled in the magic of musical unicorns.

Things got a little wacky in Gretchen Brinza’s classroom!  She admits that the most fun, successful activities were those with open ended possibilities.  Very little direction opened the door to exploration and the creativity was certainly unleashed!  After a brief introduction to the Makey-Makey kits, students collected their own materials and designed their projects from scratch. Problem solving skills were truly tested. Brinza bragged that the young engineers used great communication skills and persevered through difficult challenges.  A few of her students connected a Makey-Makey kit to a sound-byte device that made a wind-chiming noise.  Then they connected the kit to a unicorn mask.  When the students touched the unicorn’s horn, the sound went off.  “The energy was fantastic.  Literally fantastic,” Brinza shares, “And quite possibly, uncontrollable.  Not a dull moment the whole week.  The kids were sad to see engineering week end.”

Some Makey-Makey Fun!
A little bit of silliness!
Valia Thompson also participated in the fun of Engineers Week.  Her students put energy efficiency to the test as they built small model homes that could ultimately withhold heat. The students used a heating lamp and placed their houses over the lamp.  They used veneer probes to test their designs.  Students were extremely focused on keeping the temperature flowing throughout their houses without any heat escaping.  They designed and re-designed, then tested again!  Thompson said her favorite moment was watching their faces as the temperatures within the homes began to rise due to their hard work.
Constructing energy efficient homes
Shhhhh! We’re busy building!
Angela Tobias and her students participated in a “Float the Boat” challenge.  Students engineered boats using aluminum foil.  The goal was to keep the boats afloat while adding weight! They also played with food! These young engineers designed and constructed towers made from spaghetti and marshmallows.  The really, really cool part is Tobias created Challenge Kits that were available for teachers to check out during Engineers Week!  The magic of STEM was everywhere!
Look what I built!
Will it stay afloat?