Cyberchase inspires games for Engineering Open House

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The Women in Engineering and Science Programs (WESP) and the College of Engineering are hosting Open House events all day in the Engineering Complex. As usually, their activities are sure to please adults and children with their educational and entertainment value. WESP and the College of Engineering are hosting a Cyberchase adventure for children 7-12, although older kids may also enjoy the activities. The kids will start out by picking up a map for the journey and make a stop at each engineering department. At each department they will do a hands-on activity which is related to the department they are at. When finished, a sticker showing they’ve completed the activity will be put on their map. When finished with all the activities, the children are supposed to return to the WESP tent and collect their prize.

Cyberchase is a show on PBS that teaches elementary school and middle school kids about science, math, engineering and teamwork. The activities are inspired by the show, but they were not sponsored by it. The activities are as diverse as the departments in the College of Engineering. The architectural engineering activity is to make a single sheet of paper strong enough to hold up a book. Kids will get to build their own saltwater tester at the chemical engineering department. They will test different liquids like saltwater and chocolate milk and see if the buzzer on their tester reacts.

For the mechanical engineering section, kids will design a small car powered by air with household items. Kids will make a Bristle Bot made from a toothbrush, which represents the electrical engineering department. This activity is to show kids how to make a complete connection from a battery to a motor.

Another activity uses science to send secret messages. They will wrap paper around a can of soda and write a message, then fill in the rest of the ribbon with letters so when it is unrolled, no one can read it. This activity is a good way to understand how code is written, read and decrypted, which has a lot to do with computer science. Then they will build small truss bridges to support books in the civil engineering activity. They will make cubes with gumdrops and toothpicks and figure out how to make them stronger. For industrial engineering, kids will compare a water balloon to a brain, and making a protective shell for it.

Kids will be asked why we need a thick exterior to protect brain. Then they will find ways to protect each ‘brain’ balloon before testing it against a wall. The Fountain Team will do the biological and agricultural engineering activity called Raising the Flag. It’s competitive, and kids will compete to raise their flag the fastest using water to fill containers. All the activities are meant to get kids to think creatively and to use critical thinking skills. Additionally these are educational and may get kids to be more interested in science.

“When they go home, they talk to Mom and Dad, and Mom and Dad can say you should go talk to so and so, they’ll tell you more about it,” said Mahjabeen Raza, Cyberchase coordinator. “So we just want to pique their curiosity.”

In addition to the Cyberchase activities, a moon bouncer will be available for kids to play in to take a break. Even college students are allowed to bounce. In keeping with K-State’s theme of games, there will be several games set up to win prizes at like Wheel of Fortune engineering style, and Plinko.

Raza said he loves current K-State students who sign up for Open House.

“They get so excited about it,” Raza said. “They always go above and beyond. It’s not just about the activities, it’s about the connection. It’s about imparting something that they’re so excited about.”

Raza has had dozens of K-State students volunteer to help out with the Cyberchase event. Lots of students who volunteered in the past plan to do it again this year because they enjoyed it so much last year. This year’s Engineering Open House is sure to please all ages with fun, educational activities. And even if you don’t want to learn anything, there is a bouncer to play in.

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