Students explore engineering by designing, constructing newspaper tents
October 7, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Build a tent using only newspaper and masking tape.
About 200 local high-school students teamed with college mentors to use basic engineering concepts in this educational competition at the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference Oct. 6.
Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, helped to inspect the students' tents during the project.
"The students may not even realize it, but they're gaining knowledge and skills in physics, engineering and math," Justice said. "As they continue their education in science, they'll be on a great path. They're building a solid foundation in research and development."
Just as architects and engineers must follow rules and regulations when designing and building bridges, highways, tunnels and skyscrapers, the students were required to adhere to specifications for their newspaper tents.
The teams submitted a blueprint, and the final product had to match their plans. Each tent had to meet the following requirements: freestanding with no anchors; fit at least five people; be completely covered with walls and a roof; have a working door; and contain at least three reinforcement beams.
The students asked Justice several questions about the most challenging aspects of his job and his experiences during war.
"It's wonderful to see young people taking command of their future," Justice said.