The Engineers Alliance for the Arts (EAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving students the experience of working with a professional engineer in the classroom. EAA’s Student Impact Project consists of volunteer engineers, the student participants, and the annual Awards Event competition amongst all participating schools.
Design professionals volunteer their time to teach high school students about the art and engineering of bridges during an eight-week education program. The engineering curriculum guides students through a design and construction process that is very similar to a real life bridge project. The design professionals are present each week to help the students prepare for a competition at the end of the program and also lend some insight into the Architecture / Engineering / Construction industry.
Students learn the principles of bridge engineering while preparing for the competition. Each team will design and construct a scale model bridge that meets the requirements of a design scenario. The bridges are made of basic materials but must be strong enough to hold a 5 pound brick. The students rely on their own creativity to design their bridge while the engineers use their expertise to oversee the practical aspects.
Student teams compete to win a design contract at the annual Awards Event. Each team gives a presentation on stage in front of friends, family, and other competing teams. Each team must demonstrate the functionality and aesthetic appeal of their bridge in a clear, concise, and professional manner. This project gives students a great opportunity to develop oral and written communication skills and learn a technical subject while exploring the boundaries of their creativity.
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