Parents, Educators & Engineers

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Engineers Week 2012

Now THAT was a good party!  With nearly 10,000 kids and parents in attendance, Discover Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. was a truly awesome event. Kids explored the world of engineering in all kinds of fun ways (i.e., slime, gumdrops, popcorn, and LEGOs, just to name a few). Then there was the dancing . . .

Design Squad Nation's multi-talented hosts, Nate and Deysi, spread the engineering love while gettin' down on the dance floor. (And no performance is complete without Nate droppin' beats. He's so good he's in the American Beatbox Championships!) Every hour, Nate and Deysi put on a rockin' dance show using motion-activated pads and sensors that triggered sounds and lights--with every slammin' move! We're talking serious moves, too. These guys caught major air!

Kids had a chance to explore circuits by checking out our Dance Pad Mania and Electric Highway activities, and got hands-on, WAY ON, when they sent Ping-Pong balls flying in Pop Fly. (Thanks IEEE and NSPE!)

dance6.bmpdance15.bmpSee more photos and video from Discover Engineering Family Day 2012 on Facebook.

Empire state of mind


It may be the birthplace of hip hop and the epicenter of Yankees baseball, but on January 14, 2011, the Bronx was home to something even more monumental: the official debut of our giant Pop Fly.

Okay, so maybe that comparison is a wee bit... grandiose. Maybe we won't be making it into Wikipedia under the entry for "The Bronx." But our weekend of events in NYC was a pretty big HUGE deal for us at Design Squad Nation!  

The Madison Square Boys & Girls Club couldn't have been a better place to kick off our giant Pop Fly's coast-to-coast tour. (DC and Cali, you're next!) Judy and Adam led 100 kids in the after school program through the table-top version of Pop Fly, then knocked their kid socks off with THIS maneuver. Is this an NBA halftime show in the making or what?

On the following day, we set up shop in Queens at the New York Hall of Science for Family Day. Twelve hundred kids and parents filled the museum for hands-on activities galore--Pop Fly! Kinetic Sculpture! Paper Table! Launch It! This time, Adam and Judy used the giant Pop Fly to catapult a volleyball into the crowd and this time, like last, the kids went wild!

Our weekend in New York was truly a thrill and we once again felt the magic as kids went bananas for engineering. The famous New York hip hop artist, Jay-Z, was onto something in his song, Empire State of Mind: Now you're in New York / These streets will make you feel brand new / Big lights will inspire you / Let's hear it for New York...

Consider us officially inspired. So thank you, Queens and The Bronx: Home of hip hop, the Yankees, and maybe even a few future engineers, too.

Check out event photos and comment on this blog post on Facebook.

Future engineers.


judyandgirl2.pngThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for kickstick.pngWhat do you get when you put 200 teenage girls in a room with 60 female engineers, and add a few of our hands-on engineering challenges?

Future engineers.

This past November, Design Squad Nation partnered with the Society of Women Engineers and Girl Scouts of the USA to host an event in Orlando, Florida called Invent It. Build It. The goal was to give girls an opportunity to learn more about the engineering profession.

Judy Lee gave a rousing keynote speech and challenged the girls to get their engineer on with Pop Fly, Kick Stick, and Electric Gamebox. SWE's professional and collegiate members were on hand to advise when needed and share stories and experiences from their work.

The match-up was a huge success! The girls worked side by side with talented female engineers, asked them questions, and learned about different kinds of engineering jobs. At the end of the day, there were wild cheers for the great project designs created, but the excitement ran deeper than that. The girls' perceptions of engineering actually changed and we saw just how powerful the mentor/mentee relationship can be.

You can cultivate the same experience for your kids and it doesn't have to be at a large-scale event. Reach out to engineering firms, universities, and organizations in your community to find volunteer mentors. Give your kids a chance to become future engineers, too.

See more event photos and comment on this post on Facebook.

Event season, that is. We're gearing up for some big events in 2011, and I'm thinking you may be, too. Well, big events need big activities. Enter Pop Fly: SUPER SIZED!

Our Engineering Advisor, Zoz, used wood planks and surgical tubing to make this giant Pop Fly.

By far our most popular activity at events, the table-top version of Pop Fly has kids use paint stirrers, a wooden spool, tape, and their feet (!) to send a Ping-Pong ball flying into the air. I mean really, is there a more exciting way to learn about simple machines and levers?

If you have an event on the calendar, big or small, consider giving Pop Fly a try. It's sure to be a hit at any size! And if you want to see the giant Pop Fly in person, join us at these events:

Jan. 15: Design Squad Nation Family Day, New York Hall of Science, NY
Feb. 19: Discover Engineering Family Day, National Building Museum, DC
Feb. 26: Design Squad Nation Ingenuity Day, Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA

Hope to see you there!