On March 25, 2013 UWAFT participated in Shad Valley`s STEM Design Your Future Event in honour of National Engineering Month. Local students from grades seven and eight visited interactive booths to learn more about science, engineering and technology. UWAFT volunteers sparked the interest of 230 students through various interactive ideas.
Students were taught how materials can be used to help the car to be lighter and therefore more efficient by using less energy. The UWAFT team helped them understand by making connections with materials they see in their everyday lives: For example, carbon fibre is used in hockey sticks and can be used in a car as well.
The students also explored bio-plastics versus oil-based plastics and their implications. This tied in very nicely with grade seven students because they had just finished studying how plastics are made, and they were able to identify renewable and biodegradable plastics.
UWAFT’s 3-D car model was a hit because it allowed students to see how a car works as well as the function of the motor, engine, battery and gas tank. Students were able to see how these parts function in a gas-powered car versus a hybrid car.
Simplifying the concepts of UWAFT’s EcoCAR allowed the students to understand how a hybrid car is built and what an automotive engineer does. One of the students commented, “My dad restores cars, just like my grandfather, but I want to build a hybrid car just like this one.”