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  • Writer's pictureGeared Up

Expansion to Life School Oak Cliff

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

After a successful semester with Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, we decided to expand to more schools this year. Our first school of the fall semester was Life School Oak Cliff.


Because of school holidays, we were only able to complete 3 sessions at Life School, but we were still able to cover general engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial engineering!


For our first session, we had a wonderful guest speaker, Madeline Adler, a real life mechanical engineer who currently works for the Lyle School of Engineering. She taught the students about what engineers do, the endless possibilities of an engineering degree, and the cool research that’s going on at SMU. She also told the students about her experience as a mechanical engineer. Our students were wowed by all the opportunities and experiences they learned about!


The first design challenge, again, was Eggpocalypse. Eggpocalypse is a Geared Up favorite as it’s a simple challenge (an egg drop with a twist) that clearly shows students general engineering concepts and what engineers do. Engineers are creative problem solvers who have limited time and resources to complete challenges to make a difference and help people. This is exactly what students learn through Eggpocalypse, and they have a lot of fun while doing it!


During our session at Life School, we explored mechanical engineering and civil engineering. We didn’t have a guest speaker that week, but our Founder & President, Aleena Taufiq, is a mechanical engineering major at SMU, so she spoke to the students about it. She went over projects she’s done, places she’s worked, and how she found her passion for engineering in an unexpected way!




After our talk, we had a design challenge that consisted of 2 parts: We Will Rebuild. This challenge consisted of 2 mini challenges. For the first challenge, students were tasked to build the tallest tower possible out of the flimsiest few materials we could find. We also only gave them 4 minutes. It was definitely a challenge!


For our second design challenge of the week, we tasked the students to build gummy bear bridges! We gave them length and weight specifications, and we only gave them 15 minutes to figure it out! Earlier that day, we accidentally left our gummy bears out in the sun, so they melted by the time we got to the school. This added an extra, unexpected challenge to the task. We had a lot of gooey, squishy, and slimy gummy bears, but our students figured out different ways to complete the challenge!



Although melted gummy bears were unplanned and unexpected, this really does happen in the engineering world. Engineers have to adapt to circumstances and find innovative solutions to difficult problems, and that is exactly what our students did!

For our last session at Life School Oak Cliff, our students learned all about industrial engineering. We had a great guest speaker from New York Life Insurance Company’s Technology Organization, Rob Johnston. He told the students all about industrial engineering and his experience! The students really enjoyed it!


After learning about industrial engineering, the students completed their final design challenge: The Great Escape! The students were tasked to build a car made completely from edible items we provided. At the end, the students raced their cars, and the fastest car was crowned the session’s champion!



We had a great time doing Geared Up at Life School Oak Cliff, and we’re excited to say that we didn’t stop there – Geared Up expanded to Cary Middle School in Dallas the following week!




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