Orange County Branch Newsletter

July 2011

YMF News

OC YMF Shakes Things Up at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine

On a bright May afternoon, seven members of the Orange County Branch of YMF presented Civil Engineering to a group of about ninety 4th grade students at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine, California.

After coordinating with the interested teachers at the school, the YMF volunteers provided three different 4th grade classes with simple descriptions and explanations to the students of just what the Civil Engineering field is all about.  The volunteers asked the young students to think about all of the different ways that Civil Engineering affects their lives on a daily basis. The students shared various examples, which led to discussions about what it takes to become a Civil Engineer.

This broad introduction was followed by an interactive game with the kids, as each class was divided into groups and given a pre-sorted collection of Lego® bricks. The challenge was to build the tallest structure that would withstand the forces of a simulated earthquake. The students, despite their age (9-10 years-old), asked the volunteers about design strategies and their discussions led to very stable structures as a result.

Earthquakes were simulated with small shake tables made of two identical boards connected with rubber bands and four rubber balls between the boards in each corner. The students really enjoyed creating their structures and testing their structural designs on the shake tables – many even had follow-up questions after the activity about Civil Engineering in general.

The volunteers - Andrew Fynaardt, Eugene Gordin, Grace Lee, Fiona Man, Shervin Shafi, Larry Tortuya and Josue Vaglienty – had a great time with the students and enjoyed sharing their piece of Civil Engineering to the surrounding community

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