Design & Debug Workshop (Fiske)

In February of 2013, we started offering local elementary schools engineering workshops and classes, which we called “Design & Debug Workshops.”  The first elementary school we went to was Fiske — a school our captains had gone to earlier that season to kickoff their annual science fair.  While the event was free and open to everyone grades 3-5 in the school, the Fiske PTO Co-President entrusted us with bringing the one-hour workshop to the Fiske Science Team for their final class, which happened to be the week after our email.  In the workshop, we talked about the different aspects of engineering (e.x. software, hardware), where we felt the future of engineering was heading, the potential of simple ideas or designs, and the E.I.D. (Efficiency, ingenuity, diligence) core of engineering.  The Outreach leader also gave a motivational speech in which he highlighted the thought process of engineers and the elementary students’ own potential as future engineers.  In the last 45 minutes of the workshop, we split up the students into groups and gave each of them an NXT chassis and a plethora of supplies and materials to work with to complete two different challenges — the Jellybean Challenge (which involved transporting and dispensing jellybeans) and the Angle Shot Challenge (which involved trying to score a ball into an inconveniently placed goal using a wall and rubber bands).  While one of our captains was unsure of the students’ ability to complete just one challenge in such a short period of time, the majority of the groups managed to complete both challenges.  The students were very enthusiastic and learned a lot, and many were sad that they had to leave.  Almost all of the students who were in the Fiske Science Team told us that the workshop was their best experience in the club.  After the workshop, we received a lot of positive feedback from parents and the school administration and they recommended we make a session of weekly after school engineering classes the following year.

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