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Engineering Expo Gets Kids Building, Testing, Improving

Engineering Expo

More than 400 local children and adults came to Engineering Expo at the Kansas Children's Discovery Center on Saturday, March 2, 2019 to learn all about engineering careers. Engineering Expo is generously sponsored by Bartlett & West and Westar Energy.

The three main competitions were designed by KCDC educators to help children learn about foundation, gravity, force and resistance while using limited materials to solve problems. Letting children work alongside real engineers to solve problems lets them get excited about the possibility of a career in engineering.

In the Egg Drop competition, 28 participants had to design a protective structure to help an egg withstand a twenty foot drop. The structure had to be as light as possible and fit inside an 18-inch cube. No inflated devices of any size (i.e. balloons, bubble wrap, etc.) were allowed. The lightest structure to pass the test weighed in at only 21.1 grams.

In the Skyscraper Tower Challenge, participants used Kevas, identical wooden planks, to create amazingly tall towers. Participants built a combined 77 feet of towers, half the height of a water tower! The tallest of the day measured 101 inches. The KCDC record, set in 2018 still stands at 11.25 feet or 135 inches.

Participants also raced against the constraints of time and materials in the Balloon Structure Build to construct the tallest freestanding balloon structure. A dedicated group of 14 teams competed to create the tallest structure, which came in at 65.5 inches. This activity is all about foundation, and the teams did a great job experimenting with limited materials.

Engineering Expo was generously sponsored by Bartlett & West and Westar Energy. Community partners offered engineering and technology activities:

  • Airplane Exploration from The Foundation for Aeronautical Education Inc.,
  • Sunflower Science from Aslhee Herken Graduate Research Assistant, Platt Lab, Division of Biology at Kansas State University
  • Volunteer support and career information from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Engineering
  • Augmented Reality Experience from Washburn Tech
  • Power Town Demonstration from Westar Energy

Thank you to Bartlett & West, Westar Energy and all the volunteers, participants and community partners that made Engineering Expo possible.

Read more about the Engineering Expo from the Washburn Review.