For kids, summer should be about discovery, and Peggy Miles of Overland Park, Kan., is making sure her young charges get every opportunity to do that.
Six elementary and middle school students she coaches in the FIRST Lego League visited Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Chris Depcik in July to learn a little bit more about automotive technology.
Miles sought out Depcik after reading in area media about his work with KU students to create a hypermileage car. The KU students, dubbed the Ecohawks, successfully created a diesel hybrid vehicle out of a nonfunctioning ’74 Super Beetle.
The students in the FIRST Lego League have yet to learn the specific nature of their challenge, however, the theme “Smart Move: Transforming Transportation” was announced earlier this year.
Depcik talked with them about automotive issues they may encounter as part of the FIRST Lego League challenge and let the kids use a radio-controlled Volkswagen beetle.
The visitors tested their RC car driving skills and learned how these diminutive vehicles have most of the systems found in their larger counterparts.
Most important the kids discovered that engineering is fun.