Learn Financial Literacy by Designing Cost Effective Balsa Structures
Help me give my students supplies for a balsa wood structure building project including balsa wood, Lumberjack Cutting boards, t-pins, Dremel rotary tools, and a scale to test how much weight the structure holds.
This project expired on August 22, 2019.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
Students in my Exploring Engineering class are interested in a variety of engineering-related fields including computer programming, electrical engineering and electrical circuits, 3D modeling and design, robotics, Arduino coding, and structural engineering. Girls in the class have been recruiting other girls for the class and our school robotics team. Many students work after school in our lab organizing equipment and helping to keep our labs running smoothly.
Students enjoy learning new concepts and then doing hands-on activities based on these concepts.
Students love building and programming robots, designing and building various Arduino projects, and want more hands-on activities where they can build and test things. They also love to compete.
This project will help improve our structure building project. This year we did our first balsa building challenge where students had to design a 4-inch cube using balsa wood to support as much weight as possible or have the highest strength to weight ratio. A sample model weighed less than a third of an ounce and supported a 64-pound student. We will be testing actual student models later this week.
The additional Lumberjack cutting boards will speed up the model building process, the Dremel rotary tools will allow groups to remove excess glue from their models to improve strength to weight ratios, and the balsa wood and t-pins will make sure we have supplies to do the project next year.
The scale will make it easier to accurately measure how much weight each model can hold.
Next year we will also incorporate financial literacy into the project. Students will need to come up with a project budget (including parts and labor) and compete to build models with the lowest cost to strength ratio. Combining engineering design principles with financial budgeting and financial efficiency will help students understand the skills they need for successful real-world engineering projects.
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