During Design Day, teams of middle and high school students complete the following projects:


Our team of experts has designed a lab experience to give precollege students an introduction to robots. Students will work in small groups and have a hands-on approach learning
to control the VEX robot. They will write programs using Robot C language, and they will program the robot to be controlled by a remote control. Application and discovery of how programming works will be similar to lessons presented in science and math classes. Each team will discover how to adjust their programs based upon the program inputs and actual output (robot performance). During each phase, new challenges will be introduced to engage the students. This will reinforce new ideas and concepts while exposing students to the newly emerging capabilities of student-controlled robotics programs.



In this build you and your team will be integrating practices from multiple fields of engineering to build and evaluate a support system. Support systems can range from simple beams to intricate bridges composed of gussets, trusses, cables, etc. These types of systems are used throughout Civil, Mechanical and Structural Engineering works. This session will start with a brief introduction to the forces and stresses that act on support systems. Additionally, you will see how digital sensors can read and convey data about these stresses to a computer. We will also look at the computer code that takes this raw data and converts it into a format that can easily be interpreted.

During the build portion of this session you and your team will be given the design constraints for the structure. Utilizing the information learned at the start of the session and the limited materials provided, your team will need to design and then construct a model to be tested. Your finished structure will be placed on one of our test beds for evaluation. With the help of MSU Engineering students, the results will be collected by a sonic ranging sensor. These data points will be interpreted by the computer program and your team will be evaluated on percent deflection of your support. Throughout this session you will need to listen, learn and utilize your team to be successful. Good Luck.



The trebuchet activity at Design Day provides students with an opportunity to manipulate some of the parameters associated with launching a small projectile at a specific target. Using basic conservation of mechanical energy concepts from physics, student groups load a small, pre-made trebuchet with potential energy and release the device, transforming the stored energy into kinetic energy to throw the projectile. Students have control over the length of the throwing cord, the placement of the counterweights, and the pivot point on the throwing arm. The event is scored based on proximity to the target point.