Engineering – The MAD Way

A Career Awareness Session  on “Engineering & Technology” might seem mundane from the looks of it but we sure had plans to make it different for the kids . It was August 22nd (Sunday ) and the placement bunch decided to start with the first of many sessions for  FSC kids

“Engineering – The MAD Way” .

The objective of the session was to give the kids an insight into what Engineering as  a profession  is all about and  maybe  identify kids who had an aptitude for it . So we set out with a small but crisp information session loaded with a lot of fun activities.

Picking up the kids at the center was no mean task as a lot of them had other plans (read cricket) . Once the batch of 35-40 kids settled down we started with a with a few questions to gauge the information level of the kids in that field.

For a few elder kids engineering was definitely not a new topic ,as they did seem to have the idea that “engineers make things work ” which to an extent is pretty much the perfect answer to the question “What does an engineer do??”

Delving deeper into the interaction the kids definitely seemed intrigued by the idea of an engineer designing cars and bikes and mobiles .

When asked “ who is the richest person in the world”, a prompt reply  was “ Bill Gates and he is a software engineer.”  Ashwin  went on to elaborate on what an OS is , in the most beautiful yet simple manner, comparing it to the brain which controls the physical body . The kids seem to catch on this to this notion pretty quickly .

Though this interaction was too interesting to be paused we decided to pep it up a little with some  puzzles. “Count the triangles ” is a pretty standard puzzle but yet it is not that trivial .

The kids knew the concept of a triangle and started scribbling feverishly on their papers though few kids came up with the correct answers instantaneously . They were awarded with another similar problem (counting the squares) which was a trickle tougher.

The excitement of the kids to get their answers corrected saw the volunteers being bombarded with requests. It was really nice to see the kids show up with correct solutions to both the puzzles and then explain  as to how they came up with it.

Not to be left lagging on the schedule we started with the activity planned for the day. It was a basic yet important fundamental activity which involved building symmetric models(pyramids and cubes) out of cold-drink straws. It gives a very beautiful insight of 3D visualization, sense of symmetry and stability. Presenting to the kids the models we had prepared beforehand really got them intrigued as all of them had a closer look at them.

Dividing  them into groups of 4-5 we handed them straws and other raw materials . Though excited enough, the announcement of chocolates for the first group to finish  gave them a real push as they diligently started to work upon their models.

Within  twenty minutes we were again surrounded by kids who were now ready with their models . The pyramids and cubes they had realized were encouraging as we explained to them the concepts of symmetry and stability .

It was really heartening to see one of the groups actually make a pyramid which was even much better in its construction than the model we had prepared earlier. Its symmetry had a sense of beauty .Having finished with their share of model making some of them set upon making more models.

At the end of it all the kids were more than happy to pose for pics along with their models and so were the volunteers .

By then it was time for the evening classes  so we bid farewell after day of  “engineering the MAD way” .

At the end of it all  we were simply looking forward to next day of a career oriented fun time with the kids.

By Ashish

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