EDI Field Day Booth – Post by AJ Keels EDI’21

May 4, 2019, Norfolk Academy hosted yet another Field Day. The theme this year was a county fair. This year the Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows reached out to host a game booth in the Midway. The four sophomores, AJ, Olivia, Charlie, and Caitlin teamed up with senior EDI Fellow, Patrick, to come up with a great idea of how to showcase EDI to the whole community on Field Day. The five of us decided to feature two design challenges, one from our early time as EDI Fellows and the other from another EDI Fellows’ project – the marshmallow challenge and the tin foil boat challenge, respectively. The goal of the marshmallow challenge was to build the tallest spaghetti structure that held a marshmallow at the very top. The boat challenge was a test of weight and buoyancy. After each person would build their boat, their prototype was placed in water to see how much weight the boat could hold before sinking.  

The first challenge was the marshmallow challenge. Unfortunately, most kids were not interested in this particular challenge. At the beginning of Field Day, we started out with a time constraint and a limited amount of material, but we later changed the rules to have no time constraint and include a more generous amount of material provided. Additionally, the materials we chose to use were not efficient. Both the recyclable tape and the compostable tape did not hold the structures up well, and the space where the children were able to build was quite small, so they did not have much space to build their towers. The boat challenge, however, was more popular than the marshmallow challenge. Many kids came back to try the challenge multiple times, and each time they progressed into a better boat design. This challenge also started with a time constraint, but we once again dismissed the rule in favor of limitless time for the building process.  

Overall, the kids enjoyed the boat challenge, and we were able to run the booth relatively smoothly. The set up was rough at first, but we eventually completed the necessary preparation. Additionally, if we were to run the booth again, we would plan to have more EDI Fellows to help with the booth. With the limited amount of staff, each person had to take two 2-h shifts, which proved to be a long time outside in the sun for each team member. We’re looking forward to Field Day next year, and we hope that we will be able to run the booth again with our new experience.