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  • Writer's pictureGeared Up

Geared Up Goes National - Long Beach, Mississippi

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Geared Up recently got the opportunity to launch national expansion!


Geared Up National Expansion consists of one day engineering “camp” at each of the schools I’m traveling to. The day consists of 5 lessons and 5 design challenges, and it is a completely immersive experience for the students. After a day of Geared Up, I (Aleena) leave the teachers with lesson plans, curriculum, and some materials to enable them to implement engineering education in the classroom throughout the school year. The schools chosen were from a list of schools in military based communities that had a preexisting relationship with SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education. The finalized locations were in Mississippi, Washington, Virginia, and Maine.


I launched national expansion at Harper McCaughan Elementary School in Long Beach, Mississippi.


I had a group of 15 sixth graders for the day, and when I asked them if they knew what engineers did, I had a couple of answers, but nobody really knew. This was the perfect opportunity for Geared Up to step up!


Our day started off with an introduction to engineering. We talked about the never-ending possibilities, and finished off the intro with a simple design challenge. The objective was to build the tallest tower in a short period of time.


We had some really creative ideas!


After that, we moved on to civil engineering! For this challenge, we built bridges out of limited gummy bears and toothpicks! Again, we had a lot of creativity on each team!



After civil engineering, we covered industrial engineering – the cross between business and engineering. This one was slightly more difficult to explain to sixth graders, but by the end of the lesson, every student was excited for the design challenge!

For this challenge, we built catapults! The team that could launch their catapult the farthest was the champion!



We finished this challenge with a marshmallow battle, and after three rounds, we were finally able to declare a winner!


The next engineering discipline on the agenda was mechanical engineering! This is my favorite one to discuss (not only because that’s my field, and obviously the best field), but it is also the most versatile and opens up the most opportunities. You can’t go wrong with any engineering degree, but you definitely cannot go wrong with a mechanical engineering degree!


The kids loved mechanical (hopefully) as much as I do, and they were ready for the design challenge. For this round, I tasked them to build their own version of Disneyland by building roller coasters!


The roller coasters were a lot of fun – the students wanted to keep tweeking them for the rest of the day, but we had to move on to our final lesson and design challenge.

The final engineering discipline was electrical engineering. We talked about lights, iPhones, calculators, computers, and more. The kids were really excited to learn about electrical engineering.


After the lesson, our final design challenge was a circuits project. The students individually built simple circuits to light an LED, and had a great time doing so!



The kids had a lot of fun and learned a lot throughout the day. I also learned a lot throughout the day. Leading a group of 15 sixth graders seemed like a daunting task at first, but after awhile, we established connections and it was great! I was also able to learn a lot for my next leg of national expansion, and I can’t wait!


Pony Up! It’s a great time to be a Lyle Engineer!

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