UD joins White House Maker Faire promoting inventors, innovators
8:48 a.m., June 19, 2014--In response to President Barack Obama’s call to empower America’s students and entrepreneurs to invent the future and in conjunction with the first-ever White House Maker Faire held Wednesday, June 18 the University of Delaware College of Engineering and the College of Education and Human Development hosted a “Day of Making” for area teachers.
UD is one of more than 70 colleges and universities across the nation that supports the Maker Movement, which aims to inspire students to be the next generation of inventors and innovators.
Building a better block
“The Maker Movement provides an opportunity for young people and others to engage in entrepreneurship like they never have before. It is about people capitalizing on their ideas and having the resources or access to resources to make them real. We are thrilled to be part of this nationwide effort,” explained Dean of Engineering Babatunde A. Ogunnaike.
Teachers who attended the UD event, dubbed “Make Something of Your Summer,” designed and built a rainwater collection shower system for the home using a standard shower head, PVC tubing, a 20-gallon trash can, fasteners, zip ties and canvas. The teachers then tested their designs with running water to see how their design performed.
“Our goal was to provide K-12 teachers engineering and design experience in hopes that they will incorporate these practices in their classrooms and encourage their students to be makers and creators, not just consumers,” said Chrystalla Mouza, associate professor in the School of Education in UD’s College of Education and Human Development.
“It is exciting to be able to work with educators in our state,” said Jenni Buckley, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “As engineers, we're inherently makers. We want to share our enthusiasm for building while providing teachers with practical skills so they can build with students in their own classrooms with confidence.”
At UD, students on campus are already deeply involved in “making.” For example:
- Engineering students invented SimuTrach, a realistic training device for the care of tracheostomy patients;
- Physical therapy and engineering students collaborated with a fashion design professor to create a wearable garment to help infants with upper-extremity mobility issues; and
- Engineering students developed an adaptive rowing device for individuals with physical disabilities.
This past spring, Buckley also organized a Maker Series workshop series in the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Design Studio. Topics included sketching, 3D printing/scanning, sewing, photography and welding, among other things.
The “Make Something of Your Summer” workshop is a joint effort by faculty in the School of Education, including Mouza, Zoubeida Dagher and Nancy Lavigne, and Buckley. It is designed to provide resources for teachers at underserved schools where students may have limited exposure to technology, engineering and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) practices. The workshop was supported through funding from the Delaware Department of Education.
Article by Karen B. Roberts
Photos by Doug Baker