SciWorks’ Tech City encourages children to use engineering to solve problems

Peyton Gould, a 6-year-old from Winston-Salem, builds with Keva Blocks in the Tech City Exhibit at SciWorks on Tuesday, June 24 in Winston-Salem. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

Peyton Gould, a 6-year-old from Winston-Salem, builds with Keva Blocks in the Tech City Exhibit at SciWorks on Tuesday, June 24 in Winston-Salem. (Andrew Dye/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A trio of boys diligently used small metal blocks to build a dam at SciWorks on Tuesday, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

“Let’s put some blocks down here so the water doesn’t make it through” Landon Garcia told his co-builders, Izek Ingram and Tiquan Marck.

But the construction project quickly switched to demolition as Landon knocked over some of the 120 blocks in the dam and the boys watched as the water burst through.

Construction and demolition apparently appeals to children, as the “Dam the Creek” learning station was the most popular part of the Tech City exhibit at the science center on Hanes Mills Road.

And behind the fun were institutions with big reputations. Tech City was developed by Sciencenter, a nonprofit education organization in Ithaca, N.Y., and Cornell University.

SciWorks opened the exhibit on June 14. It’s designed for children age 8 to 13.

The exhibit has 12 stations with activities that promote engineering to solve real-world problems. “Dam the Creek” is designed to teach children how to a build a strong dam by using the fewest blocks possible.

The other stations included “Traffic Jam” in which children can adjust traffic lights at several intersections to improve traffic flow and “Earthquake” in which in children design and build structures and test their work against “earthquake” forces on a table.

The stations in the exhibit help children understand engineering and might influence them to pursue engineering as a career, said Paul Kortenaar, executive director of SciWorks.

Several parents watched as their children played and worked at the stations. A group of children from MudPies Child Development Center on East Seventh Street also toured the exhibit.

“We encourage children and their families to work together on these problems,” Kortenaar said.

The National Science Foundation also funded the project. Tech City is sponsored in part by Walter Robbs, a local architectural, planning and interior design firm.

Carrie Gould of Winston-Salem said she was pleased that her two sons, Mason and Peyton, worked together building a dam at the “Dam the Creek” station.

“They are working together to get the water stopped,” Gould said.

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