At UVA, Science & Engineering are a BLAST!

At UVA, Science & Engineering are a BLAST!

Eighth- and ninth-graders from across Virginia gathered at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science in August for BLAST – the Building Leaders for Advancing Science and Technology Program.

BLAST is a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, UVA Engineering, the UVA College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The program offers a free, dynamic three-day residential summer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experience. Larry Richards, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, helped lead the program with Edward Murphy, associate professor in the Astronomy Department.

Students were treated to STEM Challenge Sessions, hands-on, team-based activities that required data gathering, analysis, and problem-solving, as well as designing and building things.

Activities included: Trash Sliders, designing and building a vehicle made from trash to run an obstacle course without spilling its load; Wind-E, designing wind turbines in response to the need for alternative sources of energy, and investigating blade design in the context of mechanical, aerospace, and electrical engineering; Mars Rover, designing and building a remotely operated robot to explore a faraway location; and Poisoned Kool-Aid Challenge, conducting experiments to discover what’s in a mysterious liquid. Students heard from Astronaut Kathy Thornton about the sights and sounds of space, and experienced The Amazing Chemical Circus with UVA Chemistry students.

Click here to see photos of BLAST.

Trash Sliders. BLAST Camp at UVa School of Engineering, August 2, 2016.

Professor Larry Richards assists students with the Trash Sliders activity during the BLAST Camp at UVA Engineering, Aug. 2, 2016.