Today, students on Allendale Columbia’s National Science Bowl Team had a meeting. This meeting was for our Lithium-Ion car battery powered competition at Nationals on April 25-29. After winning the Western New York Regional Competition in early March, the team has been given the task of building the fastest car. The motor, battery, and dimensions are all provided by the competition. The team has been in brainstorming mode, with plenty of design ideas but no real cohesion. We needed a meeting to help bring it all together. We were incredibly lucky to have John Frame meet with our team. John is a friend of our art teacher Mrs. Oliveri, and is from Rochester Performance Euro.
Our team of five sat around a table in the Digital Art Lab and began to talk shop. John started by telling the team about the importance of the, “3 R’s” – Reduce, Relax, and Rework. Having him work with the team was invaluable. The team had an experienced designer, engineer, and innovator at their fingertips. I talk to the team as their teacher and coach about the science behind what they are trying to accomplish. However, nothing is more valuable than having someone with real word experience to turn our meeting into an authentic design session.
The team came away with two great pieces of advice from John. First, “there is no “NO” in engineering.” We chatted about the Apollo 13 mission and getting the astronauts back to Earth after the mechanical failure. There can be successful failures, like the Apollo mission, as well as the engineering of what seems like the impossible. Second, “be accepting of peer review”. The team now has a focus, a plan, and a mission. John was generous enough to offer to re-visit when the team begins testing the actual car. He has and will continue to serve as a valuable mentor for the team. These future engineers and scientists really respond to role models, especially those who take the time to connect with them.