Rutgers University’s Engineering Honor Society Tau Beta Pi demonstrated the concepts of energy, momentum, and optimization to students in Woodbridge’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) by means of a popular trend—the water bottle flip challenge.
As part of the honor society’s MindSET program, the event gave the third- to fifth-grade students a hands-on engineering lesson as they tested which water level, bottle size, and fluid type optimized the bottle’s chances of landing upright once thrown into the air.
“I’m hoping this helps them learn the engineering process—the scientific approach to a problem—by applying it to a fun activity,” said Jonathan Albar, MindSET chair and mechanical engineering junior.
Tau Beta Pi established MindSET with the goal of increasing local educational programming in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“It is important for us to give back to the community so we are encouraging kids the way we were encouraged when we were younger,” said Vineet Shenoy, an electrical and computer engineering junior. “If we can introduce these concepts early, it is more likely the kids will want to pursue engineering.”
PEG brings together gifted students from across Woodbridge township to attend accelerated math and language arts classes two days a week. Erica Azar, a fourth- and fifth-grade PEG math teacher, has been bringing students to MindSET programming for the past two years.
“They have been the most professional, reliable group of college students. The students look forward to coming back to campus, learning about engineering and asking questions,” Azar said.
The program provides the elementary school students with an opportunity to gain exposure to a university setting on top of their take-home engineering lesson.
“It’s the only time I get to be in college,” said Eden Pajaro, a fourth-grade PEG student attending the program for the second time. “I like that once you do the experiment, you can understand [the concept] better.”