Peru Project 2011

Displays for Tsongas History Center

Course: 25.107 - Introduction to Engineering
Instructor: David Kazmer
Partner:Tsongas History Center

Partnership Description: As a joint venture between the Lowell National Historical Park and the University of Massachusetts Lowell Graduate School of Education, the Tsongas Center is an applied history center for primary and secondary students to learn about the American Industrial Revolution by experiencing history where it happened through hands-on activities. With a highly successful collaboration in the planning year, the Tsongas Center director and staff helped to define a new S-L project: To develop sturdy, working displays to occupy students in the Center’s large lunch room. In addition to defining museum display specifications, the Tsongas Center staff assisted in grading the projects, judged the competition for which projects became permanent exhibits, and coordinated a reception for all the first-year students, hosted by the Center. Overall, the Center contributed substantial staff and administrative time and center space to the success of this S-L initiative.

Project Description: Tsongas Industrial History Center Exhibits for K-12:Illustrating Principles of Engineering with Historical Devices. In the Introduction to Engineering I class that all 294 first year students took together, Dave Kazmer set up a S-L project with the Tsongas Industrial History Center. The Center located in the Lowell Historical National Park, hosted teams of students engaged in design and construction of historical devices to illustrate principles of engineering mechanisms that have been employed historically in Lowell industries (e.g. waterwheels running textile mill machinery.) Tsongas displays were aimed at middle school students, and included appropriate mathematical formulas and definition of critical parameters for the working model. Several of the educational displays were selected to be on display in the Center, which over 60,000 school children visit each year. One display was also kept by the UML SLICE Office and used as a demonstration for UML Open Houses for prospective engineering students.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project were for students to:

  • Illustrating principles of engineering mechanisms employed in historic industry in Lowell
  • Practice research and presentation skills
  • Interaction with community partners and clients

Community objectives met by the S-L project:

  • Design interactive displays for the LHNP