MARTINSVILLE – Middle school students wrapped up a week of learning at New College Institute’sExplore Engineering camp. The summer camp, one of several offered by NCI, was designed to help middle school students explore the opportunities, skills, and challenges associated with engineering through a variety of hands-on experiences.
“My favorite part was building and making things. I don’t really enjoy just watching or listening; I enjoy doing new things,” said Abigail Tatum, rising sixth grade student at Laurel Park Middle School.
Using common, everyday items, students engaged in the engineering process to develop airplane models, balloon-powered cars, structural cylinders, and more. Through these design contests, students learned the value of teamwork, collaboration, and various engineering principles. The students also learned how to capitalize from mistakes and failure to create a better product or design.
“I wanted to emphasize with the students that failure is just part of the engineering process, and it's ok as long as you are learning along the way,” said Libby Sharp, NCI camp instructor.
“It was cool to use civil engineering ideas to build paper cylinders. We competed to see how much weight each team’s structure could hold,” said Ethan Yates, rising sixth grader at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School.
NCI offers a variety of engineering opportunities throughout the year to regional students to increase the number of quality experiences students have in engineering design. These opportunities allow students to define problems more precisely, conduct more thorough processes of choosing the best solutions, and practice working together as part of a team.
“I learned that teamwork is very important. Your design will be better if you listen to everyone’s ideas and offer your own ideas too,” said Chloe Taylor, rising eighth grade student at Carlisle School.