Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Diversity of Design

My 7th grade robotics class is working on making switch-controlled gates, modeled after the type of gate that lets you in and out of a parking lot. What has been really fun about this project is the diversity of engineering solutions my students are coming up with. This has to be a result of having my students all year instead of by trimesters like I did last year. The two following photos give an idea of different solutions they are coming up with for making gates. For these particular two projects the students had to learn about gearing down as well because in one case the arm was too heavy for the motor to lift it on its own and for the other the gate turned way too fast so the gearing down allowed it to go slower. What I loved about the student working on the latter is that I held just the gear in the position it would need to be and she immediately said, "Oh, I see how I need to attach it, I can take it from there." Obviously some excellent visual problem solving going on.