Volunteers from Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers designed a STEM activity aimed at teaching 4th graders about one engineering discipline: mechanical engineering. A group of 10 volunteers visited David Sanchez Elementary School to conduct the activity with 2 classrooms, each having about 30 students. Students and volunteers discussed what engineering is, what SWE is, and how our activity related to mechanical engineering. Students learned about the engineering design process through designing and building popsicle stick bridges, and testing them to hold as any staplers as possible. Students were challenged to choose the best adhesive to create their bridge, with the options of tape, pipe cleaners, string, and clothespins. They also learned that triangles make the strongest structures.
In an effort to reach underserved communities, the volunteers drove about 45 minutes to the school, providing the opportunity for three classrooms to meet role models and feel empowered to become engineers if it is something they love. In the following months, volunteers will regularly visit David Sanchez, bringing a new activity to model a new discipline each time. We are excited to continue to bond with these amazing students!