Drawing from Peter Cooper’s legacy of invention, high school students are immersed in a rigorous, hands-on engineering project that broadens their understanding of engineering and design concepts through application. Lectures and laboratory demonstrations prepare the students to perform their team-based activities, centered on designing and building a "Rube Goldberg" machine in order to learn how basic electromechanical devices operate. The students will be tasked to invent their own designs, prototype them with 3D printers, laser-cutters, and computer-controlled machining tools.
Teamwork, technical communication, and project management are professional skills that are developed in the learn-by-doing studio approach taken in this course. Among the fundamental experiments covered in the syllabus are: DC motors, microcontrollers, internal combustion engines, pumps, structures, fans, pumps, automotive systems, refrigeration units, and pressure vessels.
The resulting project is a kinetic sculpture that is as much a work of art as it is a well-engineered machine. Students practice resourcefulness – the materials that they use to build their machines must be recycled. The sculpture will be entered in a local Rube Goldberg competition at the high school level.