Professor Jason McCormick challenges elementary school students to learn how much a bridge will hold. He’s been visiting second grade students at Bates Elementary School since 2008 with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) group. His lessons have had a strong impact on the second graders. One year the Bates second grade teacher put together a class yearbook using letters from the alphabet. She asked if E should stand for the engineering students that visit with McCormick or an elephant that visited the class. The students chose the engineers.
When McCormick visits he brings EERI and other CEE students to the school and breaks the second graders into groups of three or four, assigning a college student to work with each group. Each group uses the computer to design and test a bridge. The bridge building software is free and McCormick gives out the link so the second graders can play the game at home, which many of them do.
“It’s important to encourage more students to get involved with engineering,” McCormick says. On August 9, McCormick will teach a workshop for fifth-eighth grade students as part of the Xplore Engineering program. This program invites alumni to bring their child or grandchild to campus for a day of engineering exploration.
McCormick’s Xplore workshop will teach the principles of bridge design and construction by having students create bridges out of rubber bands, tape, tongue depressors, bolts and nuts. Their creations will be tested for load capacity and quality of construction.
The Xplore Engineering program costs $75 for one adult and one child. The program includes three engineering workshops, a tour of the Big House and Crisler Arena, meeting the Solar Car team and breakfast, lunch and snacks. Parking and transportation costs are also included.
To register, click here.