Building Better Blocks and a Brighter Future

24 high school students participated in the Materials Science and Engineering summer camp “Building Better Blocks.” This camp has run successfully for over a decade, so despite social distancing constraints the engineering staff wanted to provide students with a memorable summer camp experience. The campers were sent an experiment kit of supplies, given relevant background information, and had to solve a specific problem using what the counselors had given them. These custom kits were packaged and shipped by Engineering Place.

Out of the six experiments, the students enjoyed learning about chemical reactions, physics, and materials science by creating different experiments to make their own bath bomb. They also enjoyed the challenge of trying to make an LED light up by creating their own battery cells, made of fruit juice, coins, and metal wires. With all the discussion surrounding air filtration, they were also given an opportunity to engineer their own water purification system. Students were also given the chance to showcase their skills through a Virtual Scavenger Hunt and a game of Jeopardy-style bingo. On the final day, the students learned about the FIB-SEM and the Titan TEM from a virtual tour by two AIF staff members (Roberto Garcia and Abby Carbone), and they also had the chance to speak to an engineer who graduated from the NC State MSE department.

The students loved the challenge of solving problems and getting their hands dirty in messy experiments.

High school students from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina