During this cycle, students learned about Engineering and the Engineering Design Process. They learned that engineers solve everyday problems to make people’s lives easier.
In the Waterproof That Roof! challenge, students had the opportunity to take on the role of a structural engineer. We talked about the relevance of this challenge with the increase in more extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, and the importance of having safe and secure structures. We also did some research on roofs and how they are constructed. We learned about the pitch or angle of a roof, gutter systems, and the difference between absorbent and repellent materials.
Part of the challenge involved taking on the real challenges an engineer faces and having to work within constraints or limits. In this challenge, students had to work in material, budget, and time constraints. They followed the steps of the Engineering Design Process to complete their work.
The Challenge: Waterproof That Roof!
You are a team of engineers given the challenge of creating a waterproof roof for a small house. You may use any of the materials available to you, however you need to stay within the given budget. Your team will need to devise a frame and covering that will prevent water from entering the interior. You can expect a rainstorm containing a liter of water!
Materials: straws, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, paper clips, string, rubber bands, tape, glue, paper,paper towel, coffee filter, fabric squares, aluminum foil squares, cardboard squares, cotton balls, leaves, grass, branches
Time: 3 Days
After completing the challenge, they analyzed the steps they took to respond to it and compared the different solutions of each team. We also reflected on what it takes to be successful engineers.