HS Students Judge 1st Year Engineering Projects

Associate Academic Specialist Jennifer Love invited local high school students from the Kennedy Academy High School and O’Bryant High School to come and judge her first year engineering student’s Alternative Energy Vehicles (AEV).

Engineering students have been designing educational alternative energy vehicle “kits” for elementary, middle school or high school students that would be more durable, less expensive, and more effective in teaching science and engineering principles than the existing mousetrap, rubber band and CO2 “kits” currently available in the market by Kelvin, Pitsco and other educational suppliers. This project has provided engineering students with the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their Engineering Design course (design, product development and computer aided design) to solve a real-world problem. They spent time reviewing the products already available in the market (mousetrap, CO2 and rubber band cars that science teachers typically use in their classrooms) and put them together to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Students learned what teachers and students do and do not like by reading online reviews. They also based their projects on their own experiences as recent high school students from around the world.

The engineering students went through 2 rounds of prototypes (imagine cardboard, duct tape, hot glue) but their final designs are intended to be professional quality and finished prototypes that could be tested and evaluated by science teachers and their students. Each alternative energy vehicle must carry 1 cup of water up a 5 degree incline (wooden ramp) as it demonstrates a science or engineering concept.

The local high school students circulated the room to see each project and to watch each vehicle in action after which they each cast an individual vote for 2 awards to help us judge the competition. Maureen Cabrera & Nicolas Fuches from the Center for STEM Education, Christina McNeil, Zechariah Tan from the Kennedy Academy High School, and Paul Muller from the O’Bryant High School were also judges during the competition.

Kit Design Award – vote for the AEV kit that was designed and constructed to be easy for the target consumer to assemble, easy to use (intuitive) and educational according to the intended STEM concept.

Design Award – vote for the AEV kit that was designed and constructed to be engaging and attractive to the target consumer and aesthetically pleasing in the current market of mousetrap, CO2 and rubber band cars.

Related Faculty: Jennifer Love, Christina McNeil