New York Air Brake
On Friday, March 29, a team of engineers from New York Air Brake spent the morning with our 7th grade students. Working in teams, students were challenged to apply the engineering design process in the design and fabrication of a catapult with an emphasis not only on projectile distance but also machine accuracy and precision. The result was a great deal of creativity and problem solving as well as out-of-the-box thinking.
The challenge given each team was to design and build a catapult to launch a marshmallow the greatest distance within an 18” wide corridor. In addition to these specifications, students were challenged to work with only the materials provided.
Once the parameters of the projects were set, our students went to work. The engineers from NYAB asked questions, listened, gave advice and coached the students as they worked to design and fabricate their catapults. Students were encouraged to try an idea, evaluate and analyze its performance, and then improve their designs to meet the objectives.
Finally, it was testing time. Marshmallows were seen flying around the classrooms and hallways. Students shared their designs talked about what went well and what they had difficulty with. They were also asked to share how they dealt with the challenges they faced when things did not go as planned.
The learning was authentic; the enthusiasm contagious; and the results were wonderful to witness. The winning catapult was able to launch its marshmallow almost fifty feet and stayed well within the 18” corridor.
Thank you to the engineers at New York Air Brake for joining us and leading this activity. We look forward to this becoming an annual event.
NYAB Engineers involved:
Erin Patterson – team leader