Explore Engineering Explorer Post

Explore Engineering 2015

Explorer Posts, sponsored by The Boy Scouts of America, introduce students (age 14 to 20) to career fields and provides them with the resources and opportunities to develop skills in their interested fields. Students experience hands-on learning under the mentorship of adult volunteers. Also known as Career Exploring and Learning for Life, the program provides the encouraging relationships and personal development to increase student success and wellbeing. Visit http://exploring.learningforlife.org/ to learn more about the Exploring Program

Each spring, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Durham School hosts an annual Explorer Post at The Peter Kiewit Institute on the Pacific Campus of UNO. This Explorer Post incorporates hands-on activities in a higher education setting with current students and professors from the Durham School. Explorers are provided hands-on, engineering focused opportunities to learn about architectural engineering, construction engineering, and construction management along with structural, electrical, mechanical, lighting, and acoustical design.

About the Project

Explorer students are given the opportunity to participate in a hands-on activity focused on engineering education including the use of science, technology, and mathematical applications to solve real-life problems related to the engineering, design, and construction of a building.

Participants are divided into teams and compete against each other to design and construct a pre-assigned building. Examples include science classroom designs, movie theaters, specialty shops, and restaurants. Each building design includes a set of criteria each team must fulfill in their design and construction. Teams begin with building kits, related to their selected project, which include miniature lights, structural building parts, acoustical panels, mechanical components, wiring, battery packs, and miscellaneous elements used for creative construction and green energy systems.

The design and build of the project focuses on basic concepts of engineering, which are required for all buildings designed and constructed in real-life applications. Prior to each building phase, students are introduced to concepts they will apply to their project. Building phases include, engineering design related to design, project management, structural, lighting and electrical, acoustical, and mechanical engineering. The application of engineering concepts offers students an opportunity to demonstrate comprehension in a hands-on learning environment. To assist groups with their projects, each team is receives a rubric on day one to clarify the quality of work required for each building phase. The rubric also serves as a guide for feedback from instructors in the classroom, while mimicking building codes inspectors would use in real-life construction projects.

The final day of the project is an open invitation for the students’ parents to tour each teams’ building designs. After the open tour, each team presents their final design to a panel of judges. Scoring is based on the rubric standards, and questions from the judges. Once the presentation is complete, scores are tallied, and awards are presented for best overall design.