At first, we started out with simple measuring. We used our measuring skills in order to complete a worksheet. We had to measure points on a graph and connect the lines using rulers, which eventually turned into a boat. This skill is extremely important because it is necessary in life and even in other subjects. For instance, if one has to buy a mirror for a new house, it would be necessary for them to measure the area before buying the mirror.
Next, we explored with the app Sketchup. This application allowed us the create anything 3 dimensional or 2 dimensional. We started with the assignment Color Your Kitchen. We were given a blank kitchen template in which we had to design and color to our liking. This also allowed us to experiment with Sketchup tools. After the Color Your Kitchen assignment, we followed a video's instructions in order to make a simple house. After that, we were aloud to construct anything to our liking.
Soon after, we invented a wind turbine design. First, we looked at some already made wind turbine designs. Then we used our imagination to create our own wind turbine design. Soon thereafter, we put our wind turbines to the test! We filled in a chart with information from our wind turbine. We performed three trials from different areas away from a fan. This forced us to use or imagination, but still be logical. We needed to construct a design that would pick up the most wind which propelled it faster.
For the few times Mr. Santilli was absent, we either experimented with Tinkercad, Sketchup, or the website Engineering: Go For It! We each chose a type of engineering and read some interesting facts about and 'met' a professional engineer who studies the topic. Then, we placed our findings into a chart for Mr. Santilli to see.
Another time Mr. Santilli was absent, we explored Manoj Bhargava and his inventions. We watched a video (Billions in Change), took some notes, and answered some opinion questions. For instance, we learned about a Free Electric bike. “By pedaling for one hour, he says, a person can power a home's lights and basic appliances for an entire day.” Creative solutions like the Free Electric bike is one of many possibilities that could move areas which suffer due to pollution towards a healthier and more environmentally friendly path.
We are currently ended the tower unit. In this unit, we made, designed, and tested homemade wooden towers. First, we created our designs. Once Mr. Santilli approved, we measured how many sticks we need to make the tower. We broke into groups of two or three and picked a design. Next, we received the amount of fake money necessary to make the tower. (Each bill is equivalent to one stick.) We then cut, measured, and glued our walls of the towers. We glued the walls of our towers together in order to make the tower 3 dimensional. We then put our towers to the test! We tested whose tower can hold the most weight by placing items and pressure on the tops of the towers. A member from our class then entered the results into a chart and figured out how much our towers could hold in pounds. Then, we calculated the efficiency of each one of our towers based on the amount of weight our tower could hold and the amount the tower weighed in grams. We compared that number to see which tower is the best and most efficient.
Overall this year, I learned how to use my imagination in order to design something useful and meaningful. Also, I learned how to use certain websites and videos to my advantage and learn a lot from them. Finally, I learned how to be realistic with my designs, but still be able to make a useful product.