Since it is National Engineers Week, let us talk about what might get young adults more interested in STEM and engineering.
ALL of them spend their time holding and using a cell phone and or a game controller. Although made of plastic, their interaction with it is less than effectual as their focus is on the screen.
For the teens that participate in athletics, we need them to consider their equipment, clothing and playing environment. In football alone, helmet, mouth guard, pads, even shoes/cleats are all made of composite plastic. They all perform specific functions that enhance the game or make it safer!
Parents and coaches can pose questions to them about how that equipment is manufactured. More importantly how an engineer designed it to perform its function.
Even the field beneath their feet, if it is artificial turf, it is plastic and those are little rubber balls spread into the turf to reduce the impact of their bodies hitting the ground!
This broadens out to even swimmers (high tech suits, goggles), skiers (skis, boots, poles), and track participants (synthetic clothing, shoes, baton, starting blocks for example).
Composite softball bats, tennis racquets, golf clubs, and even racing car bodies all made better by composite plastics.
Whether for safety or performance or both, plastic, and an engineer’s ability to make it into a product that teens use every day is the perfect in to talk about how STEM enables a person to make peoples live better!
Let’s talk science, in a context they can relate to!!