Applying concepts they learned in the classroom, Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science students worked in groups to design and build their very own egg launchers.
As part of the rubric, students were not only required to create an egg launcher that would effectively shoot an egg high enough in the air but also ensure the egg would land safely. The purpose behind this college-level challenge is to help students understand the engineering design process, which is a specific set of steps engineers use to organize their ideas and refine potential solutions to engineering challenges.
“Throughout these past few weeks, I have been telling them to fail early and fail often, rather than just fail once and late,” engineering teacher Danielle Danielle Grimes said. “This way, they have plenty of time to make adjustments because it’s not about getting it perfect the first time or even the second time. Ultimately, it’s about problem solving.”
Beyond integrating equations into the design of the egg launcher, Grimes stressed the importance of challenging her students’ creativity as well.
“People neglect how important creativity can be in a design process because they always see it as a math and science problem,” Grimes said. “There is also a huge design process that goes into it, and these students could make anything they want as long as it fulfills the task requirements.”
In one of the groups, junior Zach Medlin and his teammates designed a ramp with a sled to launch their egg. Although the group experienced several trial and errors before they came up with their final design, Medlin said it has been a fun, rewarding experience.
“It is unlike anything I have ever experienced at my old school,” Medlin said. “I have worked on similar problems in other math classes before, but we never used what we learned to build a real project like we did here.”