Pre-Engineering at Kent: EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience, Day Two

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort traveled  to Kent, CT to participate in the pre-Engineering Summer Educational Experience at Kent School program and to engage in Center for Civic and Global Leadership and EDI-specific leadership and teamwork programming.  

Blog post by Sarah Haugh, ’20

Hello everyone! Welcome to our blog! My name is Sarah and I’m an EDI fellow from the class of 2020. As many of you know we are up in Connecticut taking part in a pre-engineering program at Kent School. We started off today with our first “class”, either solar cells or working on our robots. My group started off working on the solar cells. Since we had made them the day before, the point of doing it again was to try and make a combination of berries that would better absorb the sun and create more power. Making them again today was more relaxed because we all knew the procedures and were able to make them ourselves. After that first session, we all went down to the digital fabrication lab. Dr. Nadire gave us a presentation explaining 3D printers, then demonstrated how to get it to print. He also showed us the many different types of printers and the important differences between them including size, capacity, and colors. After this presentation, which lasted about an hour and a half, we headed back to campus for lunch. Everyone got some food and once we were all feeling more energized, the five of us and Ms. McCallum headed back to the dorms for our daily meeting.  After our meeting, we were kindly driven back to the pre-e building by Ms. McCallum. This gave us all some extra time to work on whatever we wanted. Around 1:00, everyone had arrived back at the pre-e building and we got back to our activities. We did not go to solid works because the application was down, so instead we spent more time working on our robots. The robots will compete in a competition in a game called starstruck. If you search it online there are many YouTube videos explaining how to play. Later, the whole group headed out for a short hike to Bull’s Bridge. The hike was beautiful! The whole time you could see the river off to the side and many people would be swimming or fishing down in the river. We closed off our day with some time to work on solid works (it works now!) and then it was time for our nightly meeting, followed by bed! Hope you enjoyed this post and check back tomorrow for another post!

Pre-Engineering at Kent: EDI Fellows 2020 Summer Experience, Day 1

The Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows 2020 cohort traveled  to Kent, CT to participate in the pre-Engineering Summer Educational Experience at Kent School program and to engage in Center for Civic and Global Leadership and EDI-specific leadership and teamwork programming.  

Blog Post by Nikolas Yanek-Chornes, ’20

The first day at Kent went pretty well. We were each split up into alliances (with people from outside NA as well). Maguire and Sarah are in alliance one, Leah is in alliance two, and Lauren and I are in alliance three. The alliances are mainly for the VEX robot competition, in which two robots will be on each team (hence the alliances rather than groups). These alliances, however, also are our groups for other activities, such as the solar cells that groups 1 and 3 made using berry juice and a little engineering. We also learned a little bit about 3D modeling so that tomorrow we can start working on the 3D printers. The 3D modeling program that is being used is called SolidWorks. The basics are simple to grasp but the potential of the  program is limitless.  Overall we learned a lot and had a lot of fun along the way!

Engineering for Change: EDI Fellows 2019 Summer Experience, Day 3

Engineering for Change in Hampton Roads provided students the opportunity to be tourists in their own community, introducing them to the engineering challenges and opportunities of Hampton Roads, shifting their perspective, and deepening their understanding  of the importance and relevance of their Fellows work.

Blog post by Sebastian Singh, ’19

Today we visited the office of Maersk Line Limited and tour one of their boats, the Maersk Chicago. At their office we talked with Mrs. Jean Harrington, Mr. Brian Province, and Mr. Frants Reuss about logistics behind transporting such a large amount of cargo and also about different ships. We found that there are some ships that are meant to carry cargo on top of the deck and some that carry it beneath the deck. Next, we left the office and headed to the Maersk Chicago. Climbing up a long staircase, we made our way into the engine control room. The walls and desks are filled with buttons of many colors. After we had an explanation of what this room does, we walked into the actual engine room. The engine of the boat is massive, holding ten 20-foot pistons. Touring the multiple levels of the engine room, we came to the propeller shaft. After we learn how the propeller allows the boat to advance, we went up to the bridge, where Captain Hughes steers the boat. We watched the ship getting loaded with cargo from the outside part of the bridge. We then said our goodbyes to the Captain and crew of the Maersk Chicago and departed back to our hotel to get some rest.

Engineering for Change: EDI Fellows 2019 Summer Experience, Day 4

Engineering for Change in Hampton Roads provided students the opportunity to be tourists in their own community, introducing them to the engineering challenges and opportunities of Hampton Roads, shifting their perspective, and deepening their understanding  of the importance and relevance of their Fellows work.

Blog post by Kevin Smedley, ’19

Today, the group left the hotel earlier than most days in order to take a tour of the Brock Center, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s new building off the lynnhaven bay. EDI is interested in the building because it received an LEED Platinum award for being as environmentally friendly as possible.

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After taking a tour of the building and seeing all they do to help the environment, the group went on a walk throughout the many trails of that area. We were even able to see some real changes the Chesapeake Bay Foundation had made to improve the water and the environment. Following that, the fellows were dropped off back at school to look at the new school plans and to see how they lined up with everything we had learned that week.

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It was then time to get back on the bus and go see Mrs. Newland’s boat. On the way, we saw problems with homes and communities and initiated discussions about what caused them and how can they be fixed. We then took a tour of Mrs. Newland’s boat, and saw what it was like to live on a ship. At last, after seeing the ships’ modifications, the group got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel.

The day concluded with Pizza Hut and movies.

Engineering for Change: EDI Fellows 2019 Summer Experience, Day 2

Engineering for Change in Hampton Roads provided students the opportunity to be tourists in their own community, introducing them to the engineering challenges and opportunities of Hampton Roads, shifting their perspective, and deepening their understanding  of the importance and relevance of their Fellows work.

Blog post by Frances Harrington, ’19

In the morning, the EDI Fellows took the Norfolk Academy bus to downtown Norfolk. We saw many different buildings and discussed the different time periods  in which they were built. Some buildings that were nearby each other were from different time periods, so their designs were totally different. We discussed whether or not people who work in architecture take into consideration the buildings around their construction space when designing a new structure. We also went down by the water and talked about the water levels rising and what Norfolk might do to prevent buildings from being affected by it.

           After walking around for a bit, Tropical Smoothie was decided on for a break. Then we walked over to Slover Library. Starting at the top floor, we explored many different rooms. There were many books which were great for researching or just free reading. We also saw study rooms for educational purposes and an area for filming. Closer to the end of our exploration of Slover Lab, we discovered a room full of touch screen panels which could be used to research many different things.

           For lunch, we went to California Pizza Kitchen with only about 20 minutes before our meeting. We quickly ordered two pizzas to go and ate them while walking to the Norfolk Public Works building.

           Here, we met with many different people who worked for the city of Norfolk by planning what buildings go where and how big they will be. After they finished explaining their different roles, we got to do an activity that was the equivalent to what they do for their jobs.

           They gave us an empty lot in Norfolk that used to have a grocery store (which went out of business). Nearby is a relatively low income neighborhood and a bridge. We were split into three groups of two and asked to develop a plan for the developing the land. At the end, each group presented to everyone their ideas while the other two groups represented the neighborhood and the city planning commission (those people deciding whether or not to accept the plan).

           Team One, which was Connor Holland and Frances Harrington, decided to build a Harris Teeter in the empty lot along with a Bojangles. The nearest grocery store is quite far away so they decided that a cheaper, closer grocery store might be appreciated as well as a Bojangles. They also decided to put in a trail which they named Turtle Trail. Team Two, which was Patrick McElroy and Nathan Williams, designed a food court with various restaurants and a seating area. Their design featured a large outdoor seating area for people to eat their food and enjoy the view of the outdoors and the river. They called their area Turtle Terrace. Team Three, which was Sebastian Singh and Kevin Smedley, designed a gym with a pool, locker room, and a coffee shop. Outside, they also included a nature trail which led to an outdoor seating area, amphitheater, and a boathouse for members of the gym to go kayaking. They called their design the Turtle Gym. So as you can see, the EDI group is well oriented with turtles. Afterwards, the EDI Fellows rode the Norfolk Academy bus back to the hotel and we went to Roger Brown’s Restaurant, which is a few blocks away, for dinner.

Engineering for Change: EDI Fellows 2019 Summer Experience, Day 1

Engineering for Change in Hampton Roads provided students the opportunity to be tourists in their own community, introducing them to the engineering challenges and opportunities of Hampton Roads, shifting their perspective, and deepening their understanding  of the importance and relevance of their Fellows work.

Blog post by Frances Harrington, ’19

This year’s EDI Fellows Trip for the rising sophomores is focused on engineering for change. On Sunday, the EDI Fellows all met up at the Comfort Inn in Portsmouth where we would be staying for the week. We walked around the area in the evening discussing the different design and architectural aspects of the city and what the city planners could have done differently. After the difficult decision was made, we all agreed on a pizza place for dinner. Afterwards, we walked down to the docks and discussed what people and organizations were doing to prevent the water level from rising. We also asked questions such as: Are these decisions environmentally friendly? What areas are being affected? Will the architecture be safe?

           The next day, after an early start, the EDI Fellows took the Norfolk Academy bus to the Langley NASA Facility to meet with Patrick’s mom. When we first arrived, we were shown the solar panels that give power to a large part of NASA. At the beginning of our tour, we learned about different missions NASA has made possible. We were talked to by Charlie Camarada, an astronaut who went to the moon after a failed mission.

Afterwards, we were given multiple supplies such as three coffee filters, rubber bands, straws, note cards, tape, and marshmallows. Using these various tools, we were put to the task to build a model of a spacecraft that was going to be dropped off the balcony to test whether it would land right side up, in the target, and how long it was in the air along with the drag made by parachutes. This test demonstrated to us how NASA dropped off astronauts or parts on different planets.

           Afterwards, we were given a tour of the NASA facility. We saw the rooftop gardens and the rooms that control heating, air conditioning and power. Then we took a break for lunch in the cafeteria. Throughout the afternoon, we saw various things such as where NASA tests different experiments on a large metal structure (and sometimes into their one million gallon pool). We also saw a place where NASA is growing many trees in plastic tubes for support, as well as their mechanical engineering space, the heating and cooling branch, and  an actual structure an astronaut on Mars would stay in. We also took a tour of the facility that holds the wind tunnel. 

The Design Process: Ideate

Blog post by Frances Harrington, ’19

For the past few weeks, the two separate groups of the Engineering, Design, and Innovation Fellows have focused on researching their problem and using problem demarcation to get to the ideate phase of the design process. Team 1 observed the flow of students along paths and through doors and found that students usually have one place they like to hang out in. For ninth graders, it’s the lounge and for seventh and eighth graders, it is at the pit or the library. Since going outside every once in a while is good for students and their grades, Team 1 has decided to work on improving an outside area. Team 2 has been observing different lunches and which trash can is the fullest at the end. They have found that the compost has the most trash in it. They decided that by building a tray that is divided into three sections would allow students to sort trash at the table so students would not feel tempted to dump all trash into one can. Team 2 has also been meeting with Mr Barton once or twice a week to work on building a trash can and a tray prototype. When they finish, they will test it at lunch.

The Design Process: Problem Definition

Fellows are engrossed in a detailed study of each phase of the Design Cycle.

Blog post by Sebastian Singh, ’19

A few months ago, we began our research and problem-demarcation phase. Both groups, team Lunch-Room, Connor, Nathan, and Frances and team Doors, Kevin, Patrick, and I, worked on finding research relevant to our topics.

Team Lunch Room was interested in restaurant layout because they were trying to find how trash can placement affected the amount of traffic. They found that trash cans did not normally come to play in restaurants because the waiter normally takes the trash. They also focused on biomechanics to figure out how the human body handles a tray.

Team doors also focused on biomechanics to figure out how the human body responded to doors, finding that joint limitations greatly affected the way people approached doors. They also researched design of doors and different type of doors, such as a swing door. They found that people approached the swing doors quickly because they were easy to get through, but that this often caused accidents because they could not see people on the other side.

Both teams used the problem demarcation method to figure out what the problem really was. In problem demarcation, there is a starting point, means- end analysis, several problem statements, system boundaries, and then a process of comparing and choosing. Each team went through this process .  Team lunchroom decide decided to stay on the same path, whereas team doors decided to focus on improving pathways because their ultimate goal was increase knowledge. Each team has now moved to a stage where they are prototyping and implementing or making models of their ideas.

 

 

The Design Process: Empathy Phase, Part II

Fellows are engrossed in a detailed study of each phase of the Design Cycle.  Students deepened their understanding of the empathy stage through studying and practicing the art of interviewing.

Blog post by Connor Holland, ’19

Over the past few weeks, the EDI Fellows have been tackling the interview portion of the design process. During this time, each fellow was tasked with interviewing 1-2 students and/or faculty members to gain a further understanding of how to improve the systems they were working on. The Ingresses and Egresses team, which consists of Kevin, Patrick, and Sebastian, chose to interview a wide array of people from the community about the entryways around the Norfolk Academy. The Refectory Team, which consists of Frances, Nathan, and Connor, interviewed a teacher, as well as one student from each division (Lower, Middle, and Upper). Having conducted these interviews, they gained a better understanding of how people felt about the traffic flow in Norfolk Academy’s hectic lunch room.

The interviewees were chosen by the fellows in order to gain a perspective from each age group, as people of different ages often have various patience levels. This is important to ensure that any potential solutions will benefit all users as opposed to just the age group of the designer. Then, each fellow created a list of questions to bring up during their discussions. These were based primarily on understanding how the faulty systems affected the people using them and their emotions. Through these conversations, most of the interviewers found that people have varying amounts of passion about the same subject. While some had strong opinions, others simply didn’t seem to care or be overly affected by any of the issues. With this process completed, the fellows will now turn their attention to the problem definition phase. This will force them to narrow in on a specific problem that they would like to tackle.

The Design Cycle: Empathy Phase, Part I

Fellows are engrossed in a detailed study of each phase of the Design Cycle.  Students deepened their understanding of the empathy stage through understanding the role of observation in the engineering design process.

Blog post by Nathan Williams ’19

During the second half of the first semester we, the Engineering Design and Innovation Fellows, also known as EDI, focused the majority of our time on observations. Observations are an essential step of the design process, as it is impossible to improve a design or system if the engineer has no first-hand experience with the problem that they are trying to solve.  Also, collecting data is vital to bringing about positive change with a new design.  

The first group, composed of Patrick McElroy, Kevin Smedley, and Sebastian Singh, focused on ingresses and egresses, or in other words, the first group focused on doors and the system of entering and leaving rooms. Patrick, Kevin, and Sebastian performed their observations by watching a diverse myriad of students and faculty interacting with ingresses and egresses. They then recorded this information and data that they gathered within their design notebooks, graciously provided by Mr. Garvin who works in the art department.

The second group, composed of Frances Harrington, Nathan Williams, and Connor Holland, focused on the lunch system at Norfolk Academy.  We spent our observation time by attending the three different division lunches. First, was the lower school lunch, which is comprised of first through sixth graders. Second is middle school lunch, which contains seventh through ninth graders. Finally there was the upper school lunch which is composed of tenth to twelfth graders. During the second group’s observation time, we recorded our findings within our design notebooks, same as the first group.
As we move on to the interview phase we will hang on to these observations, as they will surely be a major component in our ideate phase of the design process. We will be discussing our observations among ourselves in the meantime and attempt to state a problem.