Mechanical engineers solve problems related to machines. They need to know about energy and how it helps machines make work easier for us and others. They also are very interested in knowing about materials and their unique properties. As machines are designed and improved upon, mechanical engineers play an integral part of our society.
The ultimate design challenge in our mechanical engineering unit had first graders combine everything they learned into designing a windmill. Having just designed sails, students took the knowledge gained about various materials and their properties to design the blades for a windmill. Knowing the blades needed to catch the wind, they tried to lift as much weight as possible. If the blades didn't spin, then their windmill wouldn't be able to do any work. By using the engineering design process, students were able to redesign their windmills as many times as necessary to do the work! Way to go first grade!