After School Spring 2017: Week 9

Miner Rescue

This week the girls became Drilling Engineers as they explored the engineering design process as they created a prototype to rescue trapped miners. They were able to step into the shoes of the petroleum engineers who saved the chilean miners back in 2010 and see how a career in this field can be interesting and full of new challenges. 

The girls began by learning vocabulary such as borehole, simple machine, mechanical engineering, balanced forces, and mass and how they related to the job they had to perform. They were then introduced to the history of the chilean mine that collapsed, trapping 33 miners underground that were luckily rescued due to the drill created by the engineers. Following, the girls were given materials such as string, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, tape, rubber bands, a spoon, toothpick, straws and scissors to create their very own machine prototype to rescue the miners. 

The design process began by having the girls brainstorm and draw their idea in their notebook to serve as blueprints. Many girls wanted to jump right in but slowly learned that this led to error and loss of materials. After, the girls were allowed to begin creating a machine that would be able to remove a bouncy call from a toilet paper role that simulated the miners stuck in the mine. The girls quickly began to whisper as they giggled and focused on creating the best design possible. Once they felt their design could work they would test it out and more often than not would think of a new idea to make it more effective. Towards the end of class the girls each presented their idea, described how they engineered it and what further steps they could take to improve their design. From the presentations it could be seen that each group had created a unique design, some using the spoon to remove the ball while others created baskets and claws. Their imagination and persistence clearly shined through in this activity!  

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