Project Examples

Energy to Recycle

Course: 25.107 Introduction to Engineering I
Semester: Fall 2008
Instructor: Stephen Johnston
Partner:Tsongas History Center

The Tsongas Center requested assistance in the development of an exhibit dealing with recycling, renewable energy, and engineering. The subject of the exhibit was the use of power and energy, especially as it pertains to the history and the future of industry in the greater Lowell area. The students of the Introduction to Engineering course brought relevant engineering technologies to life through the development of an exciting Rube Goldberg engineering exhibit.

Four-hundred twenty-six Intro to Engineering I students worked in teams to each develop a Rube Goldberg type device to excite students in grades three to eight about recycling, renewable energy, and engineering. Each device was started by pouring up to a gallon of water into it, and having it use as many unique energy transfers as possible on the way to separating recyclable steel, glass, and plastic. Bonus points were given for using renewable energy.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project:

  • Develop an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • Develop an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs.
  • Develop an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Develop an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • Develop an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  • Instill the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.

Community objectives met by the project:

  • Roughly 90 projects were produced and videotaped.
  • Three outstanding projects were selected for display by the Tsongas Center, as well as extensive video footage and still photos for a rolling video display to accompany the physical exhibits.
  • Familiarize new UML students to the National Park and other resources in downtown Lowell.