Washougal, WA — Hathaway Elementary third grade girls got the chance to take a spin at engineering thanks to a visit by OMSI’s Pit Crew on June 5. This OMSI imagineering program is a hands-on, inquiry-based workshop in which students use the engineering design process to solve challenges through design and testing.
Students created their own car design with a wide variety of materials supplied by OMSI. They were expected to continue to alter their designs to complete a series of challenges including driving straight down a ramp, stopping in a target and finding ways to keep their “drivers” belted on the car.
“We want to begin inspiring these girls to pursue engineering, science and exploration and help to increase their curiosity,” said Hathaway third grade teacher, Nita Young. “They are learning too that it is ok to have your hypothesis proven wrong and to keep testing your ideas. It is exciting to hear the talk around the room. They are working individually and together and using the right vocabulary to discuss the process.”
Student London Hickey said she has learned it is ok to keep trying at something before getting it right. “I know to not get discouraged and to keep going for it,” she said. “I like working to make the cars better each time. I have not learned about these things before.”
“The first tires I used were smooth plastic and they did not work very well,” said student Tiffany Del Carlo. “I changed them to the rubber tires and they stayed on and worked great!”
Student Charlotte Bisila worked on the challenge to secure toy people on board her car. “It is fun to find a way to keep them safe with rubber band seat belts,” she explained. “I am testing different ways to hold them on.”
“We decided to have this be an all-girls workshop to take any competition with the boys away,” said Hathaway third grade teacher, Jaymi McQueen. “We hope this gives the girls a greater interest in the sciences and encourages them to be a part of our Robotics Club next year. Traditionally, young girls have not been engaged in engineering. This is something extra special for third grade girls to help them get excited about this area of study.”