Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mechanical Science Curriculum

It has been a while, but that doesn't mean things have slowed down.  In fact, they are getting busier.  I wanted to find out why I am so busy, but I just can't find the time to do it.

To add to the problem, a neighbor has a son who wants to get some mechanical studies in this summer (kind of a mentorship).  The lad is in high school, and has had some issues with mathematics.  I accepted for two reasons.  First, he's a brilliant kid, and if I can help channel that into actionable understanding, he will go a long way.  Second, when someone wants to learn about things, who am I to stop it?  So, I am now starting a new [temporary] mentorship.

The topic he requested is mechanics.  Not mechanical engineering (he is a bit tentative of any engineering right now because of the math, though I think he's got it down pat) or physics.  Mechanics.  That means I have to bridge both physics and mechanical engineering in a way that will get him to the water hose in ways he can understand.  Everyone who has worked with mechanics will be aware that there is definitely engineering involved, and definitely physics.  In fact, mechanics are the common ground of the two in a Venn diagram.  So, I have to get him to that point, then branch him out.

My thoughts are as follows.  First, we need to teach basic principles of physics without a book or "homework" of doing math.  It has to be an applied method.  I have a few resources at my disposal.  I can always tap into the MIT OpenCourse for mechanical engineering.  I started trying to map out how to teach the principles by searching for pre-made kits that one could buy, but the wide range I needed to cover was not available in one place, so an additional resource smacked me in the head like a 2x4 - I have a 3D printer.  I can design and print small "gadgets" that demonstrate application of physics.  Here's what I'd like to cover :

Basic concepts
  • Work
  • Horsepower
  • Torque
  • Pressure
  • Location of energy (e.g. Internal/External (thrust vs. pushing), pulling, etc
Types of energy or motion
  • Cyclic/Oscillational
  • Rotary
  • Linear
Converting, transfer, and scaling of energy or motion
I have my work cut out for me - I have less than a month to start crafting a curriculum and getting prints created.

No comments:

Post a Comment