Advanced Engineering: Community Design Project

We’re in the fourth week of school now, so it’s a great time to unveil our Big Idea for the 2016-2017 school year. The Advanced Engineering group, comprising Tys, Aaron, Sarah Jane, Kylie, Jake, and Caleb, have been given a momentous task to accomplish.

From left: Jake, Caleb, Aaron, Tys, Mr Meadth, Kylie, Sarah Jane,
and a Pacific Gray Whale

Drum roll, please…

They will be working on a year-long project to design and construct a play structure for the Providence Lower Campus!

Most of these students already learned to do CAD last year, creating models of orphanages, Mars habitats, and small houses. This was all done from a purely “design” perspective, focused on aesthetics and interest alone.

Sarah Jane and Jake showing their CAD model for an African orphanage last year

By contrast, the point of this year’s work is to understand structural engineering: materials science (just when will that piece of timber break?), loads and stresses (how much tensile stress is that chain carrying?), column behaviour (when will a long thin supporting column buckle?), and so much more.

So, after making a design that is interesting and aesthetically pleasing and fits its environment, the students will bring their new skills to bear on their structure, which will enable them to select material types, choose thicknesses, add triangular structures, etc. This will be far more math-and-physics based than last year’s work.

But for now it’s all fun and games. We’ve been researching nearby playgrounds…

…appreciating local artwork…

…performing structural tests on candidate materials…

…speaking on location with the all-important client, Mr. Knoles…

…getting inspiration…

…critiquing ideas…

…and getting it all down on paper.

This week also marks the submission of a grant to a local nonprofit to help fund this project. The students wrote this grant themselves, and will be waiting hopefully for the response. Stay posted for more updates on this exciting work!

(photos by Rodney Meadth and Tys vanZeyl)
Kid's World, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

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