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Future Engineers of Trenton

Centre Street – Tallest Tower

Instructor Brianna Kurowski shows her future engineers how to construct the a structurally-sound tower. Students attempted to create the tallest tower that could stand up on its own.

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Grant School – Circuits

Instructor Marc Rubinstein teaches his future  engineers how to wire a circuit properly, and how to create a flashlight out of recycled materials.

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Monument School – Crush-Proof Towers

Monument School Future Engineers Club members build their “crush-proof” towers and test them with various objects, such as bricks and stacks of books. They then measure the weight of the items that successfully crushed their tower and compare their results with the rest of the group. Each student has an opportunity to re-engineer their design after the first model is crushed.

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Future Engineers Summer Camp – Video Summary


Future Engineers Featured in Trenton Times!

On Thursday August 5th,  a reporter from the Trenton Times came to observe the Future Engineers all girls group. Many of the girls were interviewed for the article, and a photographer from the paper captured the girls working, and finally crashing their mag-lev cars.

The article was featured on Friday, August 6th.


Future Engineers Summer Camp at Mott School in Trenton

On the first day of camp, the students were given various creative materials to craft a large nametag for themselves.

One of the first lessons that Mr. Anderson taught our campers was the importance of drawing an accurate model. He stressed the importance of using a ruler in order to ensure that the students had straight lines in their drawings and that each drawing included precise measurements.

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After the campers learned to draw detailed models they were given large pieces of foam in order to create a large “soap” or “sweet” prototype.

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Ms. Bridgette Graham, the founder of  Sweetable Eatables, visited the girls’ class to explain to them the process of creating a business, and patenting an idea. Ms. Graham creates flower arrangements out of chocolates and other flavored candy that look just like a real bouquet. The girls each got to sample the arrangements and learned they they could capitalize on each of their unique talents in the future.

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Mr. Chris Anderson displayed a hydroponics system in the classroom’s giant window, and during the last week we were able to use the fresh basil on our pizza! Some of our students took a keen interest in the plants and planted the seeds in the mini-greenhouses.

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One of our students’ favorite activities was designing and building the mag-lev cars. Each student used his or her newfound drawing skills to sketch an accurate model of their prospective car, and when the drawing was approved, the student was free to build. Everyone received a wooden platform with 10 magnets glued to the bottom, and a foam housing for the CO2 cartridge that would eventually propel the car on our special track.

From there, all students were encouraged to do anything and everything they could think of to safely house an egg during a head-on collision with another students’ car. Each vehicle had to include at least 3 different mechanisms that would keep the egg safe, but each car could be no more than 12 inches in length, 4 inches tall, and the width could not be increased. The car could not weigh more than 224 grams. Students were able to use all materials in the room such as foam scraps, wood pieces, cotton balls, cornstarch peanuts, yarn, water bottles and insulation.

Many of our students were able to crash their cars time and time again with the eggs remaining intact. Students were encouraged to re-engineer their cars after an unsuccessful crash. After each successful crash, the winning car had to surrender one piece of protective material. The winners continued to crash their vehicle until the egg cracked.

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One of the last activities that our students tackled was circuitry. They learned how electricity traveled through wires, how to attach a power source, and how to attach a device that used to power. They also learned how to create a switch. They then applied this knowledge to building a flashlight from scrap materials.

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Campers also learned how to silk screen.

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Boys and Girls – Mondays

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Sports Camp – Tuesdays

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Girls’ Group – Thursdays

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Mott School Celebrates a Successful Year of the Boys and Girls Club

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NJTEA State House Science Expo – Featuring Future Engineers Projects

Science, engineering, and technology education projects were showcased during the week of June 7th at the State House Annex in Trenton, New Jersey.

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Columbus School – Greenhouses and Hydroponics

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Grant School – Greenhouses

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Mott School – Greenhouses

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Patton J Hill School – Hydroponics and Greenhouses

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Monument School – Building Greenhouses

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Centre St Boys and Girls Club – Spring Planting

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Green Ideas for a New Semester

Handouts and Instructions (PDF)

Soda Bottle Composter

On Saturday, February 20th, the Center for Excellence in STEM Education, in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton/Mercer County, held the first training session for the Spring 2010 semester of the Future Engineers of Trenton program, funded by the Edison Venture Fund.
Approximately 30 teachers from around the state attended the training, which was a continuation of the fall, “Go Green with STEM” theme.  Topics included organic farming, hydroponics and aquaponics systems, classroom greenhouses and strategies for successful design-based learning in the STEM classroom.
Our first presenter, Chris Anderson-the Design/Technology/Engineering instructor at Gateway Regional High School and President of the New Jersey Technology Education Association (NJTEA), explained the environmental benefit of using hydroponics, and presented the effectiveness of utilizing existing nutrients without using excess water from outside sources.
See his blog for more details:

First Chris Anderson explained the environmental benefit of using hydroponics, and presented the effectiveness of utilizing existing nutrients without using excess water from outside sources. He then demonstrated how a hydroponics system works with the existing set up in our STEM classroom. He then had each attendee create their own mini-system using a two-liter soda bottle, an scrap of cloth, a nutrient rich seed starter, clay pellets and distilled water. Our next presenter, Michael Anderson, showed our participants how to build their own passive solar greenhouse. Attendees split up into groups of two, and each pair received a 2×3 piece of corrugated plastic, clear plastic sheeting, duct tape, and cutting and measuring materials. Once the teams assembled their structure, they added variables to it such as tin cans spray painted black or white, and filled with different types of insulation. Each attendee left the workshop with new tools and activities to use this semester, and a fun new way to approach pre-engineering with an emphasis on environmental awareness.


TCNJ Cultivates Future Engineers with Solar Car Competition

On Saturday, January 23, 2010, the Future Engineers of Trenton program, in partnership with The College of New Jersey, held a Solar Car Competition at the headquarters of the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton & Mercer County. Participating students from several Trenton middle schools, including PJ Hill, Mott, Grant, and Monument, gathered at 10:00am to race their solar cars on a lighted track, borrowed from TCNJ’s School of Engineering. Each student that participated in Saturday’s event attends weekly after-school sessions of the Future Engineers program at their respective schools, which double as Boys & Girls Club after-school satellite sites. With the guidance of their Future Engineers Instructors, students built solar powered cars over the Fall/Winter 2009 semester, one of several hands-on activities they did after researching alternative forms of energy. The College of New Jersey’s Center for Excellence in STEM Education, in the School of Engineering, receives funding from the Edison Venture Fund to facilitate the Future Engineers program, which cultivates science, technology, engineering and math knowledge and career awareness among Trenton youth. The race was judged by TCNJ staff members Susan Harrison, Michael Anderson, Alison Goeke and Brianna Kurowski. Andre Thomas, the Manager of the Center for Energy and Environmental Training at Isles, Inc. attended the event as the guest speaker. Isles, Inc. is an award-winning, nonprofit community development and environmental organization based in Trenton. Thomas spoke to the students about current trends in the environmental engineering profession, relating these trends to the research, design and product development students have implemented in the Future Engineers program. First Place for fastest car in the Solar Car Competition was awarded to Joshua Lopez and Joseph Vasquez from Monument School. Second Place was given to the Lightest Car that also made it to the finish line. James Munn from Mott School received the trophy with his car weighing in at 107 grams. A Third Place trophy went to Aaliyah McCleese and Breeina Griffin from PJ Hill School for Best Overall Design. Students, parents, instructors and program staff celebrated with lunch after the Award Ceremony. All participants in the day’s events received a prize pack and a certificate to take home.

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Monument School Future Engineers Club Builds Solar Cars

The students in the Future Engineers Club at Monument started drafting their ideas for their cars on November 24th, and started building the actual cars on December 1st. Marc Rubinstein, the Club Instructor, shows the students how to create a light frame out of found materials. Each student has a different idea for his or her car, and each model reflects the students’ unique plans.
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Grant School Future Engineers Club Builds Wind Generators

Carlos Avila, Grant’s Future Engineers Club Instructor, shows his students how to create a wind generator from a kit. Mr. Avila’s students learn about the impact of energy use on our environment, and how green technology can help slow the effects of pollution.

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Centre Street Boys and Girls Club – Future Engineers Build Solar Cars

The students in the after-school program at the Centre Street Boys and Girls Club of Trenton-Mercer County learn to build solar-powered cars. Mike Anderson showed the children how to connect the “axles” to the wheels for maximum speed. The Centre Street kids had a great time planning their cars and implementing their designs.

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Future Engineers of Trenton Instructors Workshop

On Saturday September 26, 2009 the Center for Excellence in STEM Education held the “Go Green with Science, Technology, Engineering & Math” workshop presented by Michael Anderson. The workshop was open to all teachers in New Jersey that were interested in learning ow to build structures that harness wind, solar and geothermal energy and learn hands-on, middle school STEM activities.

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