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Archives: October, 2014

Grand Engineering Challenges  October 17th, 2014

As promised during the teacher workshop, we will be posting activities related to the fourteen grand challenges in engineering. During the workshop teachers got to work on “engineering the tools of scientific discovery” by creating a robot with a water hydraulic system.  Every month we will continue to make new activities based on the grand challenges and post them to our Grand Engineering Challenges tab. We have a carbon sequestration activity already posted for September, which lets students think about their carbon footprint. For October we went back to making scientific discovery tools, but instead made a scribble machine.  This video previews what you can expect from the activity that will be posted later this month.


2012-2013 Mechanical Engineering Project  October 17th, 2014

Follow the links below to learn a little more about the ME team from 2012-2013, the engineering process, and the Rube Goldberg machine they worked on:


ME Team Weekly Rube Goldberg Construction Videos

During the construction process, the ME team shared one video per week of their progress. The ME students also looked at individual steps in the engineering process and provided some strategies for students creating their own Rube Goldberg machines.

Here the team gives an overview of their machine. At this point the students have not built anything.  They have used special computer modeling software, similar to Trimble (formally Google) sketch up, called solid works.  Modeling the project allows the students to see how all the pieces of the engineering project will fit together and helps them to predict any problems they may have during when they build the project.

Engineering involves the use of potentially dangerous machines and materials.  In this video the team goes over some common safety equipment and rules so you can be safe during the engineering and construction of your Rube Goldberg machine.  After the safety talk there is a build update.

How do you take an idea floating around in your head and actually build a prototype or your first working model?  This week the team shares some strategies around how to do just that as well as sharing ways they are using the same strategies in their project.

Studying?! I thought we were working on an engineering project!  Well we are, but as the team explains studying is important when doing research for an engineering project and these strategies can help you in all your classes in middle school and beyond.

Ethics is an often overlooked, but very important, part of engineering.  This week the ME students will give you a crash course in some of the basics of engineering ethics and explain why it is such a vital part of engineering.

There are many types of engineering you can specialize in, such as biomolecular, materials, process, environmental, geotechnical, structural, transport, computer, electrical, aerospace, acoustical, manufacturing, thermal, vehicle, industrial, agricultural, applied, biological, building services, construction management, energy, mechatronics, nano, nuclear, petroleum engineering just to name a few.  Each one of these engineering specialties has its own specific area of study.  We happen to be working with Mechanical Engineers and this week the team wants to share a little more about what specifically mechanical engineers study.  Also this week there is an update where you actually get to see their Rube Goldberg machine in action!

During your Rube Goldberg project you are likely going to find one step in your machine that doesn’t quite work right.  This is where troubleshooting becomes very important.  Here the ME team will explain some strategies to help you troubleshoot all your problems into solutions.  What is that large contraption behind the students?!

This week the ME team interviews a bunch of their engineering classmates and asks them all about why they went into the field of engineering.  While this is a long video it is really interesting to hear all the different motivations students have for becoming engineers.  Ever wonder what an engineer’s favorite superhero is? This video will give you the answer.

What can you do as an engineer? Pretty much anything you want.  This week the ME team shares a series of videos outlining some really cool engineering projects.  From a military robot call “Big Dog” to an OSU student built Mars Rover rolling over the OSU football team. Enjoy!

This is it, the ME team is finished!  This is an overview of the project with pictures of the Rube Goldberg Machine in action.  Look for this machine to visit a challenge near you.  The ME team signs off and celebrates graduating as official engineers!