February Theme: Math in Engineering
Engineers make things. They make things work and they make things work better. Engineers use creativity to design solutions to problems, big and small. Engineers help shape the future by applying their skills to almost everything you can think of, from medicine to renewable energy, food technologies to smart phones. If you like the idea of inventing something new to help solve a problem, one of the many fields of engineering could be for you!
Applying math and science concepts to solve problems in the real world is what engineering is all about. This month, the Parent’s Corner section focuses on how we all use problem solving techniques just like engineers. Get inspired by learning about different types of engineering and by meeting some professional engineers.
Topic: Problem Solving
Mechanical Engineers regularly identify problems, then work to develop strategies to solve those problems. Engineers use critical thinking, creativity, design, and construction to communicate their strategy ideas. When tackling a problem think of the IDEAL problem-solving process.
- Identify your problem.
- Define the important detail or information about your problem.
- Explore different strategies for solving your problem.
- Apply or implement the “best fit” strategy.
- Look back and learn from your work.
Explore problem solving with this fun challenge:
Leaning Tower of Pasta
Construct a tall tower with spaghetti and marshmallows that will hold a ball on top.
How can you build a tower or structure made of spaghetti and marshmallows?
How heavy is the ball?
On what surface will the tower be built?
Are there any other variables to consider?
What different shape tower can you try? Rectangular? Triangular? Spherical?
Will it be tall? Wide?
How many sticks of spaghetti and marshmallows should you use? What are their sizes?
Now that you’ve explored some strategies, decide what is the best one and build your best tower.
How well does your design work to hold a ball? Can it still be improved?
Which design ideas didn’t work as well? Why not?
Are there other materials you could use to improve your design?
Math in Engineering Events
Discover STEM Day
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
Saturday, February 2, 10am-3pm
Visitors will experience the finest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) while enjoying ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, crafting video game controllers, making spin art with circuits, and discovering their human conductivity with a Van de Graaf generator, just to name a few! All activities are kid-friendly, completely interactive, and designed to spark interest in the scientific fields of science and engineering. Get more information about the museum.
Event is free and open to the public.
Albuquerque Convention Center- 401 2nd St NW, Albuquerque
Do you like things that pop, sizzle, and boom? Join us for the first-ever Super STEM Saturday, a hands-on experiment and demonstration fair showcasing the fun you can have with science, technology, engineering, and math. Learn more at AFRLNewMexico
It’s FREE and open to the public!
Join Explora, 12 Months of Math, New Mexico Tech, and other partners for exciting, hands-on engineering activities and demonstrations.
Saturday, February 16, 10am-3pm – NM Tech student groups will bring hands-on activities and demos about math in mechanical engineering and other types of engineering.
Sunday, February 17, 2-4pm-Have you ever wondered how boats float? Do you think you could make your own boat from aluminum foil? Come explore surface area, buoyancy, and engineering design in an interactive activity with 12 Months of Math in Explora’s Experiment Bar!
Sunday, February 17-Saturday, February 23-Look for Engineering themed activities in Explora’s Experiment Bar.
Math in Engineering Activities
Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Engineers in this discipline work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also work on power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. – We Use Math
Learn how these professionals use math in their careers:
Thanks to our Title Sponsors:
12 Months of Math, a project of STEM-NM, is a city-wide initiative designed to explore and celebrate math’s importance to our community and in our lives. 12 Months of Math will provide community-based, culturally-relevant, multilingual family math programs for the public. Each month of math will focus on a selected theme and will provide math activities in a real-world context, supported by local business and organizations whose work relates to the month’s theme. 12 Months of Math brings together the varied expertise of partner organizations and coordinates efforts to bring about significant improvement in children’s math outcomes.
STEM-NM is New Mexico’s nationally-designated STEM Learning Ecosystem, working to increase the prosperity of our community by engaging students and preparing them for jobs in our local science, technology, and health care sectors.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1744541. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
12 Months of Math is looking for math events and opportunities to engage New Mexico families. If you would like to share math information with us please fill in this contact form.