EDI Speaker: Len Shropshire NA’89

The EDI Fellows hosted a Norfolk Academy alumnus, Len Shropshire ’89.

Len Shropshire  from No Limit Cycling modifies motorcycles for wounded soldiers with prosthetic limbs and other physical limitations.  He spoke to the EDI Fellows about his academic and career path to become an engineer that affects community change.  He also mentioned personal challenges that he had to overcome and how to not give up.   Len shared one challenge, spending a month to find out that a transmission part was put in backwards. HIs main message is that the frustration and the fear of failure can be difficult in engineering, but the ability to help others makes up for it. 

Hackathon: Book Press for the Literacy Fellows

On Saturday, November 20th, the EDI Fellows participated in an intensive event called a Hackathon to collaborate on a common problem, a book press for the Literacy Fellows.  Directors Dr. Kidd and Ms. Johnson approached the EDI Fellows to design a better book press for their in-house publishing, Catapult Press.   The EDI Fellows were tasked to design a book press in an intensive creativity summit on Saturday, November 20th.

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Dr. Kidd of the Literacy Fellows and Dr. Galler of the Lower School EDI Program served as judges for this event.  They decided that both designs, the screw press and the hydraulic press, won the competition.  The screw press would suit small scale production while the hydraulic book press would facilitate large scale production and hard-cover publishing.  This project will be furthered in the coming months as the 2021 EDI Fellows will modify a hydraulic press and test it for the Literacy Fellows.

First EDI Hackathon

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See Feature in Norfolk Academy News. 

EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience: The BIG Test

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort stayed at Kiptopeke State Park (VA) to design and construct a concrete boat to hold two of them at a time.  On the third day, the Fellows mixed the concrete and let it cure for 24 hours.  On the fourth day, they tested the concrete canoe at Kiptopeke State Park.  Here is Sarah Haugh ’20 to provide insight into how the BIG test went.

On our final day, we were faced with the challenge of finding a way to get our concrete boat down to the beach. It was loaded onto Mr. Barton’s truck and taken down to the parking area by the beach where it was then put onto an ATV that could drive on the sand. We were ready to get into the water at this point because it was a very hot day. The boat was walked into the water upside down and we then flipped it, took out the foam, and began taking rides! Nik and Maguire were our official testers and were able to row around until we realized there was a small hole in the back of the boat. This caused no major issues as we just bailed it out with a bucket after each ride. When all 5 of were in it, the weight was too much for it to handle and it quickly filled with water. Overall it was a great experience to see something we spent time on, work as we wanted it to.


EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience: Frame Building

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort stayed at Kiptopeke Park (VA) to design and construct a concrete boat to hold two of them at a time.  On the second day, the Fellows designed and constructed a frame to serve as a mold for their concrete canoe.   Here is Nikolas Chrones ’20 to provide insight into how the BIG test went.

At first when we were looking at the 12 foam boards that we were given to build the frame for the concrete boat we couldn’t figure out the best way to make a frame that would both be structurally sound and also large enough to hold two people. Coach Barton reminded us of the ziggurats that we built in 8th grade and we knew pretty quickly what needed to be done. We started by cutting the boards so that when stacked on top of one another it would form an upside down boat shape, then we took an orbital sander to take the edge off of the boards that we had cut. In the end we had a sturdy frame that wasn’t too small to
build our boat. To finish off our frame we put garbage bags over it so that the concrete would form in a smooth way that wasn’t too uncomfortable to sit in.


EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience: Day 2 Photo Collage

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellow 2020 cohort stayed at Kiptopeke State Park (VA) to design and construct a concrete boat to hold two of them at a time.  On the second day, they kayaked around the historic WWII concrete ships sunk at Kiptopeke State Park.  The State Park Interpreter led the kayak tour and explained the history, mentioning that the ships were active in the Pacific Theater and after the war, were sunk at Kiptopeke to serve as wave breakers.  They then designed and constructed the frame for their concrete boat.  Here is a photo collage of Day 2.  

EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience: Cooking Meals

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort stayed at Kiptopeke State Park (VA) to design and construct a concrete boat to hold two of them at a time.  During the trip, the Fellows cooked their own meals.  Here is Sarah Haugh ’20 to provide insight into how they planned and prepared the meals for the group.  

Along with the actual project, we were in charge of cooking all the meals for our trip. We were told this in the middle of May and that we had access to anything we wanted to use for these meals. A study hall was spent coming up with these meals and delegating who would cook what. When it was time to cook the first meal, we couldn’t get the stove to work. Luckily Mr. Barton came to the rescue and was able to fix it. Each meal was quite simple to prepare and we had fun taking responsibility for our meals. One meal, hot dog dinner, was cooked outside on the barbecue and it brought its own sense of challenges. Cooking our own meals gave us another thing to be responsible for and it was a good way to bring us together. 


EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience: The Kickoff and the (Unexpected) Kickout

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort stayed at Kiptopeke Park (VA) to design and construct a concrete boat to hold two of them at a time.  Here is Lauren Beckman ’20 to explain how the trip started out and the morning workout.  

After our brief, yet highly eventful, travels with Dr. Vallery following behind what we thought was Mr. Call’s car followed by some EZPass issues and destination searching, we made it to our camp site lodging (aka shanty) and settled in. The shanty was quite spacious with four bedrooms, two with two bunk beds and two with two twin beds for any special guests, and two bathrooms to the left side of the gathering area and two bedrooms and one bathroom to the right. The gathering area had a kitchen where we EDIers attempted and successfully cooked meals together and a living room sort of set up. Outside the back door was a firepit and grill which provided many memories. But on the front porch and the grassy area just beyond that is where these odd materials laid… insulation and concrete and foam beads and vermiculite, plus durable foam sheets, plywood, plastic tupperware, and paddles. What exactly are we doing!?

Mr. Barton finally brings us together to tell us we’re making a concrete boat. He couldn’t be serious, yet he was! Now the task at hand was to see what ratios of different materials would be buoyant (no phones for research).

But with five growing teenagers trying to wrap each’s head around the fact that we were actually going to build a concrete boat, it figures we would be extremely hungry, especially after just making and mixing small batches of concrete by hand; therefore, we ate at a local seafood and burgers restaurant on the water, capturing some beautiful pictures and playing some cornhole. Upon finishing a scrumptious meal, we walked around to try some of Cape Charles’ best ice cream at Brown Dog Ice Cream (unfortunately it was closed by then, but we went on the last day and it was well worth it); therefore, we decided to walk on the beach, and we took some fun pictures at the “LOVE” sign with a fantastic sunset.

Then it was Day Three. The girls somewhat successfully pranked the guys. Some seemingly unreasonable hour brings the sounds of revenge with loud whistles, shouting, and “Eye of the Tiger” at full blast. What’s going on? Not revenge but Mr. Barton!? Yelling words about get up, be out on the porch in five minutes and um… WORKOUT!? Hold up! But with this came a competition: EDIers against the faculty, whoever loses makes breakfast and if the EDIers won, we got a head start on the concrete mixing in the cool early morning and didn’t have to make breakfast. The challenge: each of us run a lap and upon finishing that lap we complete ten burpees with the pushup and on the last lap the EDI ’20 cohort is to run together and complete the 10 burpees before we can be officially finished. Our advantage was being able to choose the order in which the faculty, Mr. Barton, Mr. Call, and Dr. Vallery, would run (each ran twice). The catch: all of us had to hold a plank until our turn and upon finishing our turn. At 5:15 in the morning? Yes.

Jogging up to the beach for a warm-up, we headed straight towards our fate right on the beach. Stretching. Set to plank. First student and teacher on the line. Ready, BANK! The first plank feels pretty good while the students take the lead. Ten burpees with the next student eager on the line. Faculty follows. EDIers are off, teachers just behind. This continues into the final lap, all of us worn out and exhausted; the lead has shifted from the EDIers to the teachers and back. We sprint. Keep it going. Ten final burpees. Faculty come in for the final burpees. Teamwork. Motivation. The students win!

We start heading back but not after a quick picture of us looking completely spent and watching the sun rise just over the beach.