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Middle School Engineering-  Succeeding through Failure Jonathan Dietz Weston Middle School Weston, Massachusetts
Presentation based upon <ul><li>Grade 7 Design-Construction-  A 35-period course taken by most students, as part of arts r...
Questions to think about: <ul><li>How do we encourage students to take risks? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it important that m...
KEY IDEAS <ul><li>What is engineering? </li></ul>
Pizza Party Engineering <ul><li>Example: You are inviting 10 friends for a pizza party. How many pizzas do you order? </li...
What is Engineering? <ul><li>Engineering is solving design problems based upon a ( mathematical) model of materials or pro...
Trade-offs <ul><li>Design in the real world always involves trade-offs- cost vs performance, speed vs torque. </li></ul><u...
Technology  is the knowledge of how to make things.
Technology: the art of making things <ul><li>How do you make a cake? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you make  paper? </li></ul><...
How do you install a bolt in concrete?
Elegance <ul><li>An  elegant  design solution is the simplest design which performs as needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Designs s...
<ul><li>Zakim Bridge designed by Christian Menn </li></ul>
Failure <ul><li>Failure- properly analyzed- is  critical  to engineering design </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering design depen...
Failure <ul><li>Embracing failure is a new concept for  most students. </li></ul><ul><li>Surviving failure is difficult fo...
How do we create a classroom environment that encourages student risk-taking, that embraces failure as an opportunity for ...
Competition and Failure <ul><li>High-stakes competitions create few winners,  many losers, without an opportunity to re-de...
Multiple Iterations <ul><li>Designs should incorporate students creating  multiple  versions of designs, incorporating fai...
Bridge Decks- Multiple Versions, easily made
Grade 7 Design-Construction <ul><li>Course alternates material from videos, discussion, and computer simulations with hand...
Introductory Challenge- 1 st  iteration <ul><li>Using 5 sheets of paper and 12” of tape, build the tallest free-standing t...
Introductory Challenge- 2 nd  iteration <ul><li>Introduce the concept of rolling paper into tight sticks using a dowel as ...
Introductory Challenge- 3 rd  iteration <ul><li>Introduce technology of cables( cotton string) </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstra...
Direct Instruction- Tension and Compression <ul><li>Review forces acting on towers- tension and compression </li></ul><ul>...
Design Challenge #2- Straw and Paper Bridges <ul><li>Challenge: Using paper, straws, pins, and glue, build a bridge which ...
Part 1: Building the Deck <ul><li>Students are asked to build a model beam-bridge deck, using pins and straws and/or paper...
Messing Around <ul><li>Without prior instruction, students are asked to build 2 or 3 versions of a model bridge deck. </li...
Test efficiency of bridge <ul><li>Efficiency= carrying capacity ( live load)/ weight of bridge (dead load) </li></ul>
Revised Version: I-beams
Third Revision: Trusses
<ul><li>Students add Warren-type trusses to the bridges, and re-test the efficiency. </li></ul>
Testing and Modification <ul><li>Bridges are tested to near failure. Failure modes are observed, and the bridges modified ...
Video: Building Big: Bridges Emphasizes how bridges failed, and how subsequent bridges were modified in response.
Challenge #3-West Point Bridge Designer <ul><li>Part 1: Optimize a sample design. </li></ul>
West Point Bridge Designer <ul><li>Part 2: Design a standard bridge, and optimize cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Original...
Part II- Construction Technology <ul><li>Construction technology is taught using a project-based approach </li></ul>
Activities vs Projects <ul><li>Projects typically: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Last 3 weeks or more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>U...
Architect: Frank Gehry
Model House Project <ul><li>Week 1: Design house on computer using CAD home-design software </li></ul>
House Construction Project <ul><li>Week 2:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build model foundation (plaster) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul>...
House Project <ul><li>Week 3: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finish framing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frame roof </li></ul></ul><u...
Winding it all Up <ul><li>MCAS Review of Construction Technology </li></ul>
Why study engineering? <ul><li>To encourage more young men and women to consider engineering as a career, through particip...
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Middle School Engineering

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Middle School Engineering

  1. 1. Middle School Engineering- Succeeding through Failure Jonathan Dietz Weston Middle School Weston, Massachusetts
  2. 2. Presentation based upon <ul><li>Grade 7 Design-Construction- A 35-period course taken by most students, as part of arts rotation. </li></ul><ul><li>Theme: Engineering Design and technology focusing on structural engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Web Site: http://www.weston.org/schools/ms/MCAS/DesCon7.htm </li></ul>
  3. 3. Questions to think about: <ul><li>How do we encourage students to take risks? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it important that middle-school students study engineering? </li></ul><ul><li>How do engineering skills apply outside of engineering? </li></ul>
  4. 4. KEY IDEAS <ul><li>What is engineering? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Pizza Party Engineering <ul><li>Example: You are inviting 10 friends for a pizza party. How many pizzas do you order? </li></ul><ul><li>Model: Kids eat two slices each, but some eat three. There are 8 slices per pizza. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering calculation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(10 kids x 2 slices/kid)/ (1 pizza/8 slices)= 2.5 pizzas. So buy 3 pizzas. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. What is Engineering? <ul><li>Engineering is solving design problems based upon a ( mathematical) model of materials or processes. </li></ul><ul><li>A design should meet the needed requirements for performance plus a safety margin. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Trade-offs <ul><li>Design in the real world always involves trade-offs- cost vs performance, speed vs torque. </li></ul><ul><li>You always have to compromise- there is no perfect solution. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: Big Dig too expensive- so money was saved by deleting inner tunnel box, not testing ceiling bolts, etc. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Technology is the knowledge of how to make things.
  9. 9. Technology: the art of making things <ul><li>How do you make a cake? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you make paper? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you build a house? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you make an Ipod? </li></ul>
  10. 10. How do you install a bolt in concrete?
  11. 11. Elegance <ul><li>An elegant design solution is the simplest design which performs as needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Designs should always strive for elegance. </li></ul><ul><li>Ganter Bridge by Christian Menn </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Zakim Bridge designed by Christian Menn </li></ul>
  13. 13. Failure <ul><li>Failure- properly analyzed- is critical to engineering design </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering design depends upon knowing the point at which a material or design fails and how it failed. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Failure <ul><li>Embracing failure is a new concept for most students. </li></ul><ul><li>Surviving failure is difficult for all but the best students. </li></ul><ul><li>In most classes, failure is penalized. </li></ul>
  15. 15. How do we create a classroom environment that encourages student risk-taking, that embraces failure as an opportunity for learning? <ul><li>Emphasize that students will not be penalized for coming up designs that do not work. </li></ul><ul><li>Have kids phrase answers, “ I’m only guessing now, so . . . “ </li></ul>
  16. 16. Competition and Failure <ul><li>High-stakes competitions create few winners, many losers, without an opportunity to re-design. </li></ul><ul><li>Middle-school engineering should NOT involve high-stakes contests. </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement should be against a stated criterion for performance, NOT against each other. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Multiple Iterations <ul><li>Designs should incorporate students creating multiple versions of designs, incorporating failure data from each trial into the next version. </li></ul><ul><li>Prototypes should be easily revisable, using cheap components such as paper, straws and pins, or reusable materials such as Legos. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Bridge Decks- Multiple Versions, easily made
  19. 19. Grade 7 Design-Construction <ul><li>Course alternates material from videos, discussion, and computer simulations with hands-on design-challenge projects. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Introductory Challenge- 1 st iteration <ul><li>Using 5 sheets of paper and 12” of tape, build the tallest free-standing tower you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Tower must stand for 30 seconds. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Introductory Challenge- 2 nd iteration <ul><li>Introduce the concept of rolling paper into tight sticks using a dowel as a jig - a specially-built tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Share ideas and concepts from first version. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Introductory Challenge- 3 rd iteration <ul><li>Introduce technology of cables( cotton string) </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate use of guy wires. </li></ul><ul><li>Rebuild using cables. </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum acceptable= 36” tall. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Direct Instruction- Tension and Compression <ul><li>Review forces acting on towers- tension and compression </li></ul><ul><li>Do Mini-Activities from Building Big website </li></ul><ul><li>Build Concrete-block arch </li></ul><ul><li>Determine tensile strength of cotton string </li></ul><ul><li>Bill Nye the Science Guy: Structures . </li></ul>
  24. 24. Design Challenge #2- Straw and Paper Bridges <ul><li>Challenge: Using paper, straws, pins, and glue, build a bridge which spans a 20” gap and supports at least 8- 250cc water bottles. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Part 1: Building the Deck <ul><li>Students are asked to build a model beam-bridge deck, using pins and straws and/or paper cardstock. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Messing Around <ul><li>Without prior instruction, students are asked to build 2 or 3 versions of a model bridge deck. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Test efficiency of bridge <ul><li>Efficiency= carrying capacity ( live load)/ weight of bridge (dead load) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Revised Version: I-beams
  29. 29. Third Revision: Trusses
  30. 30. <ul><li>Students add Warren-type trusses to the bridges, and re-test the efficiency. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Testing and Modification <ul><li>Bridges are tested to near failure. Failure modes are observed, and the bridges modified and re-tested. </li></ul><ul><li>Students are asked to describe in detail how the bridge failed, and how it can be strengthened. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Video: Building Big: Bridges Emphasizes how bridges failed, and how subsequent bridges were modified in response.
  33. 33. Challenge #3-West Point Bridge Designer <ul><li>Part 1: Optimize a sample design. </li></ul>
  34. 34. West Point Bridge Designer <ul><li>Part 2: Design a standard bridge, and optimize cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Original Design </li></ul>
  35. 35. Part II- Construction Technology <ul><li>Construction technology is taught using a project-based approach </li></ul>
  36. 36. Activities vs Projects <ul><li>Projects typically: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Last 3 weeks or more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use non-disposable materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emphasize technology rather than engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to modify </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pride of ownership and craftsmanship </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Architect: Frank Gehry
  38. 38. Model House Project <ul><li>Week 1: Design house on computer using CAD home-design software </li></ul>
  39. 39. House Construction Project <ul><li>Week 2: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build model foundation (plaster) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build sill beam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frame walls </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. House Project <ul><li>Week 3: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finish framing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frame roof </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add sample stairs, floors, roofing, sheathing, and insulation </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Winding it all Up <ul><li>MCAS Review of Construction Technology </li></ul>
  42. 42. Why study engineering? <ul><li>To encourage more young men and women to consider engineering as a career, through participating in meaningful design challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>To enable our students to be active creators of knowledge, including technology, not passive consumers. </li></ul><ul><li>To learn how to understand complex systems. </li></ul><ul><li>To enable students to cope successfully with failure, by seeing it, not as personal rejection, but rather an opportunity for improvement . </li></ul>

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