This year, Troy Junior High School was awarded a grant to incorporate fluid power in their classroom. Below are some of the many notable extracts from the teacher who coordinated the activities for over 200 seventh grade students.
“The students start by completing an investigation where they test a pneumatic and hydraulic system and see the differences in how they respond. The students are not given any guiding information or vocabulary until after they complete this, so then when we do go over the vocabulary and they get the explanation then they have some experience to connect their learning to. The students are shown the video and encouraged to identify how fluid power is used throughout the video and what industries it is used in. This allowed the students to see that it is used in a variety of applications. The students take notes and determine the differences between pneumatics and hydraulics and the pros and cons of the uses of both and the applications they would be best suited for.
This project is used at the end of the course to focus on the importance of redesign in the engineering design process. Any changes from the original plans have to be documented and rationale given during their presentation. This also includes any unintended variations as a result of the students just not following directions.
The teams focus on making sure the arms function. This includes the importance of no air bubbles in their hydraulic systems. This has become a focal talking point in groups as they realize, usually through failures, that air bubbles allow for compression and less fluid movement with their arms. The groups present their arms and demonstrate the arm’s function while trying to grab and relocate as many object as possible in a given amount of time.
The eighth graders [who] stopped in the room while the students were working on the project generally commented that they were disappointed they didn’t get to it last year.”
-Teacher, Troy Junior High School, Ohio