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Summer SAVY Session 5, Day 1, Engineering Design: Full STEAM Ahead!

Posted by on Monday, July 17, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 1:  Dear Parents,

Our Engineering & Design: Full STEAM Ahead session is off to a great start! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our young engineers. We started the morning off with activities to get to know each other. Students seemed to enjoy playing “Two Truths and a Lie” where they guessed which statements about their classmates were true and untrue. This activity highlighted commonalities among students, while also giving them the opportunity to share some things about themselves that were unique. We also took a little time to set expectations and share ideas for what it means to be safe, responsible, respectful, and kind while at SAVY. Taking a little time to get to know each other and develop a common understanding and language for expectations helps foster a safe, supportive environment for taking risks during the engineering design process.

Next, students engaged in a Mystery Bag activity that led to conversations about what technology is. Each student was given an item from the Mystery Bag and was asked to explain to their table mates whether the item could be considered technology. Some misconceptions students had included that technology must have moving parts, that technology must be electronic, or that technology must be computer-based. After discussion, students learned that technology is anything that people design that solves a problem.

We also explored what engineers do, and discussed how sometimes students confuse the job of an engineer with that of an artisan, craftsman, or technician. Students learned that an artisan or craftsman makes or builds technologies, while a technician fixes or makes technologies work, and the job of an engineer is to DESIGN technologies.

Students learned about the steps engineering design process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Improve) and practiced putting the process into place with our “Not a Stick” activity. For this activity, students were each given a stick and the constraints of specific materials to choose from to design an object that served a purpose. We had some amazing ideas and creations, including an easel, toys, garden statues, a catapult, a fishing pole (with a device to reel the fish in), a bird feeder, a pointer, and an updated marshmallow roaster. Most students had the opportunity to present their projects and already have ideas to improve. I was impressed not only by the abundance of creativity, but also by the willingness of students to work together, share ideas, and accept feedback. Tonight, ask your child about their “Not a Stick” design. Some guiding questions may be:

  • What worked well?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What could change to improve your design within the constraints?

Tomorrow, students will explore the roles of civil engineers. They will also learn about different types of bridges and their attributes to apply to future engineering design challenges. I look forward to another great day of engineering!

~ Ms. Davidson