By the Teen Leadership Team: Aayushi Sharma, Vidushi Sharma, Kristian Tolbert, Kamrin Simms, and Genevieve Oberholzer
The first Teen Science Café in Delaware, “Building for Natural Disasters,” featured Richard Kimball, a fourth-year architectural engineer student at Drexel University working to get his BS/MS degree. Mr. Kimball wanted to be an architect since he was really young. “I’ve always been very logical,” he says. “I would sit down and draw a building, and ask myself how and if it would be able to stand up.” This led him to gain an interest in architectural engineering. The Café topic focused on architectural engineering and natural disasters. Kimball discussed how many buildings have special precautionary safety measures in case of a fire, hurricane, flood, or earthquake. One of the teens who attended said, “This was really fun and informal. It’s a cool way to learn and get teens involved in STEM.”
To go along with Kimball’s presentation, the teens joined in an activity to demonstrate how to create a sound structure. They gathered around tables in groups to create a marshmallow and spaghetti structure that would withstand the force of the earthquake table. To start the activity, the teens were given a handful of raw spaghetti and a bag of marshmallows and worked together to start building. Not only were they able to incorporate themes of tension, torsion, and compression into their designs, but they were able to collaborate and learn from each other. The activity allowed the teens to have a better understanding of architectural engineering in terms of real-life situations. Overall, it was a successful first Teen Science Café at the Delaware Museum of Natural History!