HURLOCK — The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students at North Dorchester Middle School are learning about designing and creating air skimmers that can travel far distances. Each student was given a piece of cardboard paper, tape, a pair of scissors, a ruler, and color pencils to build the air skimmer. Prior to building the air skimmers, the students had to analyze the task by using engineering design briefs. This is a concise document that clearly states the problem, explains how the engineer will carry out the solution, and lists the rules and restrictions within which the engineer must perform.
The students had to accurately lay out the shape using correct dimensions as well as construct different parts of the air skimmer to ensure that it is strong and stable. Although all students were given the same materials and time, the skimmers seem to travel different distances. The distances were recorded and compared.
At the end, the students learned that measuring and cutting accurately is an important part of engineering design, and that is the main reason why some air skimmers were able to travel very far and others did not. Just as important, the students really enjoyed the event and had fun creating the air skimmers.