The other day I was fortunate enough to sit in on presentations being given by some of our Engineering Design students (part of our Engineering certificate program). The students had been tasked with creating functional robots with working scoops from Vex robotics design system pieces.
The students worked in teams of three to brainstorm their design and functionality options before they moved onto the fun part – constructing the robots. I am not going to pretend that I understood when they used terms like ‘newton metres’ (a unit of torque, apparently) or the specifics of how the robots were put together but I was able to see what a powerful learning tool this experience was for the students.
The teams all worked through a process of trial and error, modification, redesign and problem-solving. They collaborated with each other and researched design options that might help improve the functionality of their robots. In the end, each team was able to produce a robot with a scoop that was capable of picking things up. Not only that – they each did a terrific job in presenting their projects to the class (and other spectators).
Thank you so much to the Engineering Design class and instructor, Rong Zheng, who let me sit in on the class. I learned a lot – and got to see an awesome robot in action!