This week, our fourth grade students walked around the corner and across the street to visit the NYU Makerspace with Gili, one of our LS librarians who will be joining our S.T.E.A.M. projects this semester, their classroom teachers, and Brian, a member of the BFS technology department. Our hosts, Victoria, Beamlak, David, Ariane, SuQi, and Kathy, gave us tours of their impressive facilities and a glimpse of the projects being worked on by NYU engineering students.
Some of the tools we saw included 3D printers, sewing machines, soldering stations, laser and vinyl cutters, an x-ray machine, CNCs, and a water jet cutter with a flow rate of 60,000 psi! For comparison, a regular garden hose has a flow rate of only 40 psi. Another interesting machine we saw was the earthquake machine. It simulates actual earthquakes on a much smaller scale so that engineering students can test out how well the buildings they have designed can withstand earthquakes.
We learned about the different challenges that teams of engineering students tackle over the course of their education at NYU, such as designing, prototyping, and testing a vehicle that could traverse Mars or developing closed plant production systems that can grow produce with a minimal amount of resources.
Perhaps one of the most interesting projects we saw the engineering students working on is the Hyperloop transport system. Ariane, one of our hosts, is a computer engineering student on the NYU Hyperloop team. She told us all about how the Hyperloop works, the SpaceX competition that the NYU team has entered into, and the iterations of the vehicle they have worked on for the past two years.
Two teams, whittled down from three hundred teams from around the world, will be able to test out their prototypes in California. We learned that the NYU Hyperloop team consists of 50 members, with engineering students from a variety of disciplines (e.g., electrical, civil, computer, etc) to build the actual vehicle, to marketing students who are helping to promote and raise funds for the project, to design students who work on the aesthetics and ergonomics of the vehicle. Ariane noted that many students often end up creating their own startups or become employed by major technology companies after participating in such competitions.
We were truly inspired by the wonderful work happening at NYU and can’t wait to apply what we’ve learned to our upcoming robotics and S.T.E.A.M. projects.
Here are some photos and videos from the trips! Enjoy!
We learned about PCBs (printed circuit boards) and how technology has advanced over time.
Fourth graders got a sneak peek into the building of a prototype.
We learned some important design principles that we will bring back to our own robotics and S.T.E.A.M. projects.
Engineering involves working with limited resources and finding efficient solutions to a problem.
Learning about the water jet cutter and how it works.
These 3D printers look very similar to the ones our students used in third grade for their cookie cutter project with the kindergartners!
The laser cutter was a favourite tool during our visit. We learned that it can cut a variety of materials, such as felt, cardboard, wood, and acrylic. We also learned that laser cutters, just like 3D printers, are often used for quick prototyping of ideas.