A whole new kind of recess

The Wilkinson Center was packed with elementary, middle and high school students on Wednesday, shooting off rockets, sampling s’mores, building Chinese lanterns and hooking themselves up to electrodes. This year’s Engineering and Technology Day, hosted by the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, transformed the Garden Court into a giant science fair.

More than 800 students of all ages attended this year’s event, making it the biggest expo yet. The goal of Engineering and Technology Day was to celebrate National Engineers Week in a way that would get public school students excited about engineering and technology.

“I am thoroughly impressed with these students,” said Colin Dickson, a chemical engineering student helping out at the “Science behind Soda” booth.

Some of the interactive booths included Popsicle Science, Radioactive Chocolate and the Science of Smell. Students huddled around demonstrations, learning about lasers, computer processors, underwater exploration and electrical impulses in the brain. One of the most popular demonstrations was at the Muscle Stimulation booth, where students placed electrodes on their arms and watched their muscles involuntarily twitch, spasm and contract with electrical stimulation.

“They all have a lot of fun trying to resist it,” said Dan Robertson, one of the BYU students running the booth. “It’s cool to see kids getting excited about engineering.”

Upstairs, several of the college’s clubs and departments set up competitions. Students visiting the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) table got to make chemical reactions that fired off projectiles like miniature rockets, which they tried to aim at a target.  The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) set out a variety of materials for their egg drop competition. The Department of Civil Engineering had students break into teams for a building challenge.

“We’re trying to build the tallest tower,” explained a group of girls from Lehi Junior High, kneeling over a pile of marshmallows, string and spaghetti.

The purpose of Engineering and Technology Week is to celebrate math, science, engineering and technology.  In addition to Wednesday’s expo, the college also hosted a bicycle service project for a local non-profit organization. A total of 175 hours of service were provided, 78 people participated and 27 bikes were completed. The service project, organized by the Provo Bicycle Collective, will sell these bicycles at a discount to less fortunate individuals and families who otherwise could not afford one. 

The college ended Engineering and Technology Week's festivities with a social and activities night which more than 300 students, faculty and staff attended.

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