September 20, 2022 | Melissa McCallihan
“Houston, we have a problem.” Probably the most famous line from the film Apollo 13. Engineers saved the day for the three astronauts trying to breathe in space while the NASA folks tried to figure out how to bring them back to earth safely and in one piece.
The students in sixth through eighth grade science watched a clip of the NASA engineers problem solving using only what was available on the capsule and LEM and then were confronted with their own engineering design challenge–can you create a safe path for a ping pong ball to travel over two ramps, a tube and a straight away into a cup. The constraint was they could only use 12 items to do so.
We start and end the science year practicing the Engineering Design Process. The engineering design process is a process that includes researching, brainstorming, planning, revising and finalizing a design that solves a problem and that meets the constraints and requirements of the project.
Most groups saw great success with their builds and were able to say they solved the problem.