Nemesis's First Engineering Day!
According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way an egg should be able to fly. It lacks wings, aerodynamics, and any capability of attaining such characteristics. Despite this and against all odds, eggs flew on November 19th at the Robbinsville Robotics FRC 2590 Nemesis Annual Engineering Day.
Over the course of two four-hour sessions, Nemesis invited 6th through 8th graders to the Robbinsville High School tech lab. The purpose? To challenge the students and foster within them a drive to pursue STEAM careers. Each pair of campers explored engineering through two challenges designed by Nemesis: an egg parachute and marshmallow launcher (the former requiring students to construct a protective capsule for the egg and then drop it from Robbinsville High School’s second floor balcony). Students were provided with finite resources of cardboard, hot glue, and foam, to model real-world constraints.
The challenges provided forced the students to think outside the egg-box and innovate, creating a microcosm of the professional engineering world. Build team member and sophomore Richa Mandrekar remarked that “What makes this so important is that this almost cultivates the next generation of STEAM,” as her group returned into the lab from launching a marshmallow 21 feet. “Plus, it’s fun. You see excitement in their eyes.” The group later beat their record by 10 feet.
Whereas Discovery Day introduces middle and elementary schoolers to STEAM, Engineering Day fleshes that introduction out to integrate real world constraints. While financial pressures need not apply, competition, innovation, and time were extremely prevalent within the activities. Participants needed to find their edge to best address the design challenges, producing unique results, shown below. (as shown below). .
In engineering, there exist near infinite possibilities of mechanical failure. A gear losing its teeth, a crossbeam bowing, or even an entire chassis collapsing. However, only two things ended up breaking at the 2016 Annual Robbinsville Robotics FRC 2590 Nemesis Engineering Day: misconceptions and eggs.