Fifteen students from grades 9-12 participated in the J-Term engineering course led by Bill Merryman, Naval Sea System Command Carderock engineer. They were challenged to consider how the STEM disciplines apply in their everyday lives, in objects as familiar as a pen and as complicated as a Navy destroyer.
The final activity for the course involved the construction of a mousetrap-powered vehicle. Each team designed their prototype car body, wheels and axles, and powering mechanism independently, with little prescribed instruction. They applied scientific concepts such as energy conversion, torque, rotational motion and the mechanical advantage of a simple machine as they worked.
This course was such a success that the class was the featured story in Carderock’s weekly March newsletter. To read more, check out page 5 and 6 of the newsletter.