Engineers help improve people's lives by designing bridges, prosthetic limbs and safe sports equipment. Sixth-grade students from TSC schools learned more about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers at a conference at Purdue University, funded by the Indiana Department of Education and Caterpillar.
One group, with students from Klondike and East Tipp Middle Schools, investigated how well packaging of graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows could withstand heat, water and being dropped. Then, the instructor asked the students to develop packaging for a s'more that could withstand being doused with a cup of water, under a blow dryer for 30 seconds and dropped from three feet.
The materials provided included paper towels, duct tape, styrofoam bowls, toothpicks, wax paper and aluminum paper. Students tried to create protective packaging, while also sticking to a budget.
Students Bailey Stall and Lily Robinson designed a package that withstood the impact of the drop and water, but melted slightly under the heat of the blow dryer. "Even though the outside of the container sustained some damage, the s'more inside was protected," says Bailey. "It really shows that packing does matter," added Lily.
Other STEM activities at the conference had students learning about food preservation, designing their own musical instrument and coding a computer so a robotic mouse could get the cheese.