Tag Archives: Engineering

Cosmic Lander: An Engineering Challenge

Here is an engineering challenge for you. Drop a water balloon from the second story of a building onto a rocky bottom and have it survive. In Cosmic Lander, our students do just that!

In this popular class at AstroCamp, our campers transform into teams of engineers. They model landing fragile scientific gear (the water balloon) onto a hard and rocky surface (Mars). They learn that sending rovers and probes to other places in our solar system takes a process of steps.

Step 1: Plan it
Work with teammates. Design it, draw it out and make a plan. Know what you are going to do and how much it’ll cost. NASA has a budget, therefore so do our students. Different materials are worth different amounts of points.

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Step 2: Build It
Bring the design into reality. Use appropriate materials. Figure out a way to make it work together.

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Step 3: Test It
Give it a try. See if it works. If it didn’t, then analyze what went wrong, make a correction, and test it again. If necessary, start the process over until you are successful (you will be successful). Never give up!

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It is unusual for scientists and engineers to find the best and most successful way of doing something the very first time. Keep in mind the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Every attempt is a new piece of knowledge.

Written by: Mimi Garai

Kids And Their Robots

Rough terrain. Unsurpassable obstacles. Navigating the rocky unknown with little help from home. These are the challenges space robots face as they explore distant worlds– and the engineering problems summer campers solve as they build and program their own LEGO rovers.

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Introductory classes focus on teamwork and getting familiar with the robot-building process. Campers are set up to succeed with a simple pre-programmed spider bot project. They have the option to play with visual coding, too!

RobotKids

In advanced classes, pairs of young engineers invent & build robots from scratch. Each step of the process requires cooperation, creativity, and plenty of persistence. Campers quickly discover that robotics is rarely a one-shot deal. Like grown-up rocket scientists, they must revise and re-test their designs to develop a working system.

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Hands-on STEM electives like robotics lay the foundation for a lifetime of problem-solving on Earth and beyond. Students learn that failure provides valuable insights. They experience trial and error as necessary steps in the innovation process. They also gain practical knowledge as they’re exposed to the basics of design and programming. Any student who’s tackled practical engineering problems for fun is a step ahead when faced with similar challenges at school, work, and more!

Written By: Caela Barry

WELCOME TO ASTRO BLOG

We would like to thank you for visiting our blog. AstroCamp is a hands-on physical science program with an emphasis on astronomy and space exploration. Our classes and activities are designed to inspire students toward future success in their academic and personal pursuits. This blog is intended to provide you with up-to-date news and information about our camp programs, as well as current science and astronomical happenings. This blog has been created by our staff who have at least a Bachelors Degree in Physics or Astronomy, however it is not uncommon for them to have a Masters Degree or PhD. We encourage you to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Vine to see even more of our interesting science, space and astronomy information. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or share our blog with others. Please visit www.astrocampsummer.org for additional information. Happy Reading!

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