Two paper plates. One pencil. Six pennies. Tape. Task: make a top. No further instructions nor help was given. We were left with our minds and hands to create this device. At the end of the activity we were given two questions to answer in a blog.
1.How did today's opening activity relate to the engineering design process?
The engineering design process involves designing, building, testing, and reflecting. This relates to what we did in class because first we brainstormed solutions to the task, and then we built, tested, and rebuild based on the results of our tests. For example, we tried moving the pennies farther from the center of the plate, we experimented with moving the plates farther up and down the pencil. We accidentally poked a hole through the plates that was off-center and caused us to start over from square one with the other plate. Near the end of the activity, I snapped the pencil in half based off of an educated guess and the 'top' worked perfectly!
2. How did today's opening activity relate to moment of inertia and angular momentum?
Moment of Inertia involves masses and the distance from the centers at which they lay (penny placement). Also poking the hole in a plate through the direct center was important because the moment of inertia would be inconsistent. Due to varied radii. Angular momentum is also important because friction is a thing. We had to increase the angular momentum so it takes longer for friction to stop the top. To do this we increased the moment of inertia by making the pennies farther from the center point on the plate which led to higher success.