Course: 22.213 - Dynamics
Semester: Spring 2006
Instructors: Faize Jamil and John Duffy
Partner: Local playgrounds: Pingree Park, Hamilton-Wenham Recreation Department, MA; Roudenbush Community Center, Westford, MA; Holden Recreation Area, Holden, MA; and Heath Brook Elementary School, Tewksbury, MA
The overall goal of this S-L project was to provide students with an opportunity to apply theory and tools of engineering dynamics to an actual system in addition to opportunities to help local communities and integrate similar assistance for international communities (such as the Peru Village Empowerment S-L program). Two of the suggested miniprojects were design oriented and more open-ended. Whereas, the third S-L miniproject suggested was a safety analysis and was more structured.
During the Dynamics course students were encouraged to work in groups of two to three persons for the S-L project. Working groups of students selected one of two suggested miniproject playground sites; or proposed one of their own. Students surveyed, analyzed and evaluated inherent safety hazards of playground designs, spacing, surfacing materials and equipment, turned in a joint group report. Students finalized their playground assessment and suggested improvements in a report that was shared with community partners (listed above).
By the end of the course and s-l project, students reported increased awareness of engineering roles that contribute to increased safety capacity as a part of engineering design and assessment. Communities also received benefit through a specific set of playground recommendations for improved safety. These s-l design and safety assessments can better inform local decision-making processes regarding playground construction, improvements and helpful maintenance.
Mechanical engineering students helped to evaluate and improve the safety of local playgrounds. With their knowledge of dynamics, they began to estimate the speed, forces, momentum, and potential injuries to children on various playground devices and recommend safety improvements. Technical objectives of the miniproject included: