The experiments made one think of the Erector sets of old in the way they went together to make simple yet strong structures which had a useful purpose. Tom Best photo

Machinovation strengthens young minds

Youngsters performed experiments demonstrating general rules in engineering.

Darryl Hutcheon from the Science World Scientist in the School Program is a retired instructor of Physics and Automation with degrees in physics and electrical engineering.

During his 90-minute, highly interactive presentation at the Smithers library last week, he was able to get youngsters to perform experiments which demonstrated some basic general rules used in engineering simple, useful activities and devices.

Initially, he showed how using ropes in a variety of ways was able to make the human being much more powerful in performing simple tasks.

He showed how using the human arms and legs in different ways was able to increase the power that could be applied to an object such as a ball.

Perhaps the tour de force was having the students use simple pieces of wood in order to increase the strength of the wood in order to perform specific tasks such as lifting a person.

The final constructions put a variety of tests together in order to construct small bridges. One of these included a structure similar to that which the Romans may have built using only stones, the strongest material they may have had at the time. Other constructions were made that simulated more modern ones that could use stronger, more modern materials.

The presentations were very interactive and allowed the youngsters present to experience how science could be used to help mankind achieve very specific goals which could make life easier, such as spanning a river with a bridge or using a rope to help improve the ability of a boat to sail.

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Daryl Hutcheon is a retired instructor of physics and engineering in the Science World Scientist in the School Program. Tom Best photo

Students were able to construct simple yet complex structures that mimiced those built by ancient engineers such as the Romans. Tom Best photo

Studnets were able to attempt simple physics experiments which showed how power could be easily increased. Tom Best photo

While some of us may have dreaded science in the classroom, Hutcheon’s approach showed how it could be fun and applicable. Tom Best photo

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