Our goal is to share the wonderful world of engineering and show you that engineering is literally ALL around us! Our mission is three-fold 1) We want students to get inspired not only by engineering, but also by science, math, and technology. I know that engineering can be a fuzzy subject and hopefully our travels can help you understand what engineers do and the different engineering fields available. 2) We want parents to understand what engineering is and what they need to do to encourage their child in STEM fields and 3) We want to provide teachers with some resources to incorporate engineering into their science, literacy, social studies,...really any part of their curriculum!
I want to thank the Fund for Teachers fellowship (www.fundforteachers.org) and the Chicago Foundation for Education (www.cfegrants.org) that awarded me this awesome opportunity to continue my passion of igniting my student's curiosity of engineering and STEM. Engineering is awesome!
The Google map shows all the sites we plan on exploring this summer. We will journal and post videos of our travels. Visit this site regularly to keep tabs on our awesome engineering adventure!
Hoover Dam, Nevada/Arizona
The building of Hoover Dam is a testament to the American spirit and ingenuity in the midst of adversity. Built during the Great Depression to get people working under President Hoover's Work Program, it only took 4 years to build. It was completed 2 years earlier than planned AND it was under budget! It was originally built for flood control and water storage but the hydroelectric (water moving making electricity) feature allowed the dam to pay back their construction loans and they operate without using any government dollars! The preconstruction was amazing. They took 2 years to build diversion tunnels so they could divert the water to be able to build the dam. Using only jackhammers, dynamite and sweat! There was no drilling equipment back then for the hard canyon rock! I went down into the bowels of the dam and felt the loud whirl of the water that flows through the dam. I also went into the generator room where the water turns the turbines and transforms the movement into electricity! Our tour also went into one of the viewing tunnels halfway up the dam to peek out from a small vented window over the power plant. Not only was Hoover Dam massive but it looks pretty too! The design is inspired by the Art Deco period. I left Hoover Dam in awe of our American engineering spirit!
SF Golden Gate Bridge, California
International Orange! That is the official name of the color of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. The steel beams arrived primed with this color. Originally, the bridge was going to be painted after construction, but spectators fell in love wth the color so International Orange became the color of the bridge! I also learned that Joseph Strauss, the civil engineer who designed the bridge, came from Chicago. His engineering company was from Chicago and had designed many of Chicago's drawbridges! Interesting! He was a pioneer in safety - he required his workers to wear hard hats, safety harnesses and built a safety net under the bridge while it was being built! The safety net caught and saved 19 men! Wow! Sounds like he would have been a great safety engineer as well!
Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
I spend 7 hours at the Johnson Space Center and it still was not enough time to visit all the exhibits and displays that they had! If I had a second life to live, I would definitely would want to be an astronaut! The perseverance, vision and courage of all these men and women who were space pioneers was inspiring. The progress from Goddards first liquid fuel rocket to the scientific experiments on all the early space missions paved the way for space travel. I even saw the actual CO2 filter that the astronauts had to jury rig that the NASA mission control engineers problem solved to save the astronauts' lives! Now that's engineering under pressure! The progress made in space exploration is unbelievable: Mercury missions, Gemini missions, Apollo missions, Skylab Missions, Columbia Shuttle missions, International Space Station, and beyond!
Mount Rushmore Memorial, South Dakota
I thought I was ready to see Mount Rushmore, but it was really moving when I first caught a glimpse of the memorial while driving up the winding State Park forest! The symbolism of the memorial really made me think of the history of our United States! The art (model & scale sculptures) and math (pointing & scaling) used behind this memorial really illustrates how engineering is part of our every day life!
Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Young Marvin Camras (aka Flat Stanley) and I learned how engineering and the design process are alive and well at the Harley Davidson Museum. Very cool place! The history and engineering behind the world's best motorcycles are amazing! It is truly an Americana icon. Harley Davidson is not just a cultural icon but is a great example of american ingenuity and engineering! I even was able to "ride" a 2013 Harley! Vvrrooom!!
Crayola Experience, Easton, PA
My last stop of my East coast trip was to drive 4 hours to visit Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania. It was a colorful, fun, learning experience! I stood next to the largest Crayola crayon! I learned how chemical engineering plays a part in creating crayons. An interesting fact that I learned was that in 2011, Edwin Binney, one of the inventors of Crayola, was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame! I also learned that dustless chalk was created because of a need that teachers had. It's amazing how many products Crayola has! That's technology - a process or something that is created to solve a problem or a need!
National Inventor's Hall of Fame
I drove about 3 hours South to Alexandria, Virgina to visit the National Inventor's Hall of Fame which is in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They had an exhibit on "Exercising Ingenuity" where they showcased inventions in health & fitness. Did you know that Gatorade was invented at the University of Florida and was named after their football team, the Florida Gators to help prevent dehydration? After using the drink, the Gators went on to win their first Orange Bowl! I also learned more about our Marvin Camras, who was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame! Cool!
Hershey's Chocolate World
680 miles of driving East in July, led me to Hershey's, Pennsylvania where I visited Hershey's Chocolate World. I was touched by the story of the man behind the famous chocolate bar. Milton Hershey was an amazing human being who was not only an innovator and persevered through his first candy failures but along with his wife, Catherine, were benefactors who cared about children and established a school for orphan boys. The coed school still exists because Milton Hershey donated virtually his entire fortune to the Milton Hershey School. The manufacturing engineering process also fascinated me. Having all that chocolate to taste was a sweet perk too! Look at the Hershey's pics that I took while there!
PLTW Training at University of Illinois
I just completed the Project Lead the Way training at U of I from July 7 - 11. It was an intensive 40 hours plus work week. We were officially in class for 40 hours but then did assignments and met with classmates to finish our projects. Most of us stayed up past midnight to finish our coursework. It was worth it though! We are certified to teach the Magic of Electrons and Flight & Space. Our students will learn about electricity/electronics and spacecraft/aircraft. We shot up rockets, tested our airfoils in a wind tester, soldered a nightlight, built a DC motor and other fun stuff!! See some of the projects we did in the pictures section!