The Beauty of Hydraulics

phandWhen teaching engineering design, there are a few principles that make you think differently. Everyone is used to putting puzzle pieces together in a certain way. We each have own way of doing things. But hydraulics changes everything.

In our new Hydraulics Challenge Laboratory, teams of students are given syringes, tubing and an assortment of other materials to challenge them to create something powered by hydraulics. To make a syringe, filled with water, power and move something stretches your mind. It makes you think differently. I’ve seen students whiz through hydraulic activities and I’ve seen them get stumped. The best part is that at the end of a 60-minute build period, they all have something that works.

If you want to have fun during Engineers Week this year, this lab is the way to go! You’ll receive a box of materials that will enable you to hold five hydraulic design challenges. There are enough consumables to have 5 teams of students create a puppy that sits on command, 5 teams can make a draw bridge, another 5 can make cranes or prosthetic hands or marble chutes. 25 teams of students can work simultaneously on exactly what they want. When they are through, reuse the syringes and tubing and you’ll still have enough materials to do it again the next day and the day after that (for up to 5 days). There are no wrong answers and what a great way to experience engineering design!

Check it out!

9th Annual Poster Contest!

EESC’s 9th Annual Engineering Poster Contest Kickoff!

The theme for the EESC’s 2013 poster contest is Engineering Innovation. You may enter up to three times. Posters should be fun, motivational, and inspire students to pursue a degree in Engineering, Engineering Technology or any other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field.

Engineering Innovation

Most people don’t describe engineers as creative. Many people equate the word “creative” with being artists or writers. Engineers are just like artists except with a practical twist. They see a problem and apply creativity to find a solution.

Because consumers decided vacuuming was a problem, now we have the Roomba iRobot vacuum cleaner that automatically vacuums or mops floors while you do something more enjoyable. New homes often have vacuuming systems already installed in the walls or self-vacuuming kitchens, and Dyson engineers are always trying to design a better vacuum cleaner. In fact, a look at the advanced cleaning systems over the last 10 years further indicate just how frequently engineers are employed to find better and more innovative cleaning solutions. Scrubbing Bubbles self-cleans your bathtub daily, the Swifter wants to mop your kitchen, and portable power-washers allow the average consumer to clean the exterior of their home and property without any other special equipment. Think about a world without dishwashers, microwave ovens, washing machines, dryers, refrigerators or freezers. Without engineers, so many day-to-day chores would be much harder.

On other technology fronts, engineers are the ones who figure out how to make a roller coaster careen forward at 120mph in four seconds without injury. They are the ones who figure out how to make cars run on electricity or fuel cell technology to keep our atmosphere cleaner. They create medical equipment used by doctors to keep us healthy, and even work in the food industry to make foods such as chocolate and cereal taste better. Engineers have given us digital music, email and communications that fit into our pocket, and are hard at work to help save endangered animals from extinction, improve our environment and increase our safety.

Problem-solving has been the path by which some of the most amazing inventions and technologies have arrived in the market today. These inventions exist because one engineer had an idea. Look back at old pictures of the bicycle. People wanted the bicycle to go faster, to go up and down mountains and be more comfortable. The difference now is due to engineering. So that bikes could go off-road and through trails, engineers designed lightweight and stronger frames, along with shock absorbers, forks and wheels to take the punishment of off-road riding. When the cost of gas rose so much that more people wanted to ride bikes to work or school, engineers created a lightweight folding bicycle that could be carried into an office and unobtrusively stored or put into a school locker. When a faster bike was needed to win the Tour de France, engineers designed that too. Each year, engineers have gone back to the drawing board and made bicycles better. What will bicycles look like in another ten years? The future engineering workforce has the capacity to make the world a better place where people are safer, have more fun and can do more.

Contest deadline: 11:59pm November 1, 2013

Winners will be notified by November 14, 2013

View the 2005-2012 winning posters here

Offer Extended: Amazing Outreach Potential

The deadline to become a partner in the 100,000 Book Give Away Program has been extended to July 31!

There is still time to become a part of this amazing outreach venture.

Have you been trying to introduce more students to engineering or technology?
Have you have been trying to recruit more students into your program?
Have you wanted to share information about what engineers, technologists or technicians do?
Do you regularly explain the differences between engineering and engineering technology?

If you nodded in agreement to any of these questions, this program can help you save time and reach your goals.

If you think that engineering and technology are degree paths that can lead to fulfilling careers, this program will reinforce your message.

In a nutshell, because engineering and technology degrees are altruistic (you can make a better world), confidence building (the hard work pays off), expansive (all degrees in STEM can lead to diverse opportunities) and inventive, partners in this program will naturally stand out as the lead resource for students that want to take the next step.

There are several benefits for partners that can multiply your outreach efforts. You will save time, have immediate access to this handy reference, get your message in front of 100,000 students, have an informational resource for your local teachers or school counselors, and have a ready-made relevant gift or prize for your STEM conferences, competitions or events.

The participation deadline is July 31. Space is limited.

It’s easy to become a partner. Simply fax or email us the partnership agreement to get started.
More Information

100,000 Book Give Away!

ITAEIY4_300x450It’s my dream to see my first book, Is There an Engineer Inside You?: A Comprehensive Guide to Career Decisions in Engineering in the hands of every student that could benefit so I’ve decided that over the next 5 years, I’m going to give away 100,000 or more copies of the Fourth Edition to all students that want to study engineering or engineering technology! This will include both printed and downloadable copies.

I’ve poured my heart and soul into writing this book. It’s my best selling publication. And yes, I want to give it away. What could be better than knowing it is helping so many students make an informed decision?

Do you want to be a part of this? I need sponsors to help me with the production costs and events that are willing to allow me to give each student a book at their national competition.

The advantages for sponsoring include ad space, free books and a custom downloadable copy for your website visitors.

The books will be given away books at competitions such as the USA Science and Engineering Festival, FIRST Robotics, Mathcounts, Future City, BEST Robotics, Bridge Building Competition, Design Squad, Solar Car Challenge, ToyChallenge, Seaperch and/or any other national competition that throws its name into my hat if I can find a way to pay for it.

I’m already 1/4 of the way there in making this happen for the 2013-2014 school year. Please help me reach my goal of giving away 100,000 books! If you are reading this blog, I know you care about engineering education. Reach out to those that you know will help! We can do amazing things by working together.

I can’t think of anything more worthy than celebrating each student’s desire to enroll in engineering or engineering technology school.

More information on being a sponsor or if you are a competition that would like to give away books to our future engineers.

Engineers Week Inspiration

Every year in February is Engineers Week. It’s the one time in the year that we officially get to celebrate engineering on a large scale and build momentum for all the engineering events throughout the Spring. What did you do? Did you hold a special event? Invite an engineer to visit your classroom? Did you take part in a competition?

My last two weeks were jam-packed with events. I started in Utah at Weber State University with a Parent/Daughter Day. We had 40 teams of parents and daughters that completed engineering projects together and learned about engineering careers at the same time. As always in Utah, these girls were fired up and created outstanding prosthetic hands, coin flippers and light-up yo-yos (my new favorite project).

NASA-langleyAfter two days back at home, I left again for Virginia to speak at a school counselor event at NASA Langley. I facilitated four round table discussions to get these counselors up to speed about all that you can do with an engineering degree. I gave them charts, quick references, resource lists and a book to make sure they have the tools to advise students about engineering.

From there I attended the Virginia Children’s Engineering Conference and gave the keynote to almost 500 teachers that are actively engaged in teaching engineering in elementary school.  There were workshops galore and these teachers had the opportunity to spend two days fully immersed in everything engineering. In my humble opinion, a conference like this should be held in every state.

My hat is off to everyone that is working to hold events and inspire the greatness that exists within every student.