The challenge that we will be testing this week is body armor shirts inspired by animal defenses. We talked about the many ways animals and plants defend themselves with shells, quills, plates, etc. Students then had to create a protective garment for Angelina, a roller derby player who needed a garment to protect her stomach. Using limited materials, inspiration from nature, and a whole lot imagination students have been designing body armor for their client. This week we will be dropping weights on the shirts (with floral foam in the stomach area inside the shirt) to see how well the shirts protect from impact. Students will get to see how the foam dents on impact, and then get a chance to retest and redesign their technologies. Teams will also show how they used animal defenses to keep people from even wanting to bump into the shirt.
The challenge before this was all about being inspired by Bio-Luminescence. We learned how animals chemically create light to mate, communicate, attract and defend. Students then had to create a LED- embedded flag for a spy to communicate with. The project was truly challenging because students had to turn the LED on and off from at least two feet from the flag. Many of the students had never even worked with LED's and batteries but they powered through and figured it out. This was definitely an engineering feat, but as usual, the kids came up with many ingenious solutions!
I love that the children have really embraced good design practices. They have learned how to build things to last for Testing Day. Testing Day is exciting because they get to see their technologies ut to the test. They really love the design, test, redesign, and retest part of engineering.