Elementary Class Spends a Day With Engineers

Inspiration from nature

Students from Boston Renaissance Charter Public School—the largest elementary school in Boston—headed to PTC headquarters last month to get some hands-on engineering experience.

The group of 3rd and 5th graders learned how engineers often use nature as inspiration for their designs. The children were asked to redesign either an Adidas sneaker, a Blackberry or a tractor by incorporating elements of a leaf they had studied.

The students grouped into teams and came up with their designs. One team decided to add solar panels to the tractor, like the stoma of a leaf, so that the vehicle could operate on the sun’s energy. Another team took the sneaker and made gutters, like the veins of a leaf, to make the shoes waterproof.

“It is really cool to see some of the technology and some of the things a real engineer does,” said one student.

The kids were then asked to present their designs as if they were presenting to clients.

During their visit, the students got to experiment in 3D virtual worlds and design their own 3D models. They learned about the engineering process from design to sales and were given real-world problems to solve and then asked to present their solutions.

Teacher Joseph Roche spoke about how excited he was to use some of the exercises in his classroom. Since the visit, BRCPS has already implemented biomimicry into its technology class.

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