Alumni have fun exploring engineering with their kids

Hosted by the different engineering departments, the day-long event offered nine different workshops.

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Ninety Michigan Engineering alumni brought their children or grandchildren to a day-long summer camp this past August 9, called “Xplore Engineering.” The event offered a day of experiential learning through a selection of nine different workshops hosted by the different engineering departments.

Alumni came from as far as Texas and California to participate in the event. Each pair, which included a child or grandchild entering fifth to eighth grade, took part in three workshops throughout the day. In addition to building nanostructures and playing with robots in EECS, they were breaking bones in biomedical engineering, building bridges in civil engineering, walking across non-Newtonian fluids in chemical engineering and driving underwater vehicles in the reflecting pool.

This event will be held next summer – so if you like what you see, make sure you don’t miss it!

It’s a small, small, small, small world

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Jeremy Klooster and father Eric Klooster
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Alumni and kid Enlarge

In the Nano session, Prof. Zhaohui Zhong introduced basic concepts of nanotechnology and carbon nanomaterials. The alumni and their kids constructed diamond and graphene molecules, and measured the resistance of a single layer of carbon atom, graphene, by using a multimeter. They also got a tour of the Lurie Nanofabrication Faciltiy by Dr. Brandon Lucas (Education and Outreach coordinator for the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN).

Teaching robots

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Children working Enlarge

In the Robotics session, the APRIL lab hosted an activity using the lab’s custom-built educational robots designed specifically for children without prior programming experience. Children were paired in teams of two, and raced against other teams to teach their robots to follow a path as quickly as possible. The robots are controlled by a series of physical knobs that allow kids to directly encode the line-following-policy, depending on where the line is detected beneath the robots. The APRIL lab used the same robots at a World Science Festival event in New York City this past June.

See all of the photos from Xplore Engineering:

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