A real-life disaster solution devised by Mother Seton Regional High School engineering design students will be displayed at the National Catholic Educational Association Convention.
Students were charged with designing and prototyping disaster-resistant sustainable housing. Six groups of four students brainstormed various designs, built a prototype of the chosen design, and tested each house to see if it could withstand a specific natural disaster.
“Each group chose a country and researched the type of natural disaster prevalent in the country as well as the natural resources available,” Katherine Sullivan, the Engineering Design Process Class teacher, and an engineer herself, said. “The groups also researched the customs of the people in order to design comfortable homes that fit their lifestyles.”
The six houses were built for the countries of Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, Fiji, Japan and Thailand. They were designed to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and strong winds. The unique characteristics of the homes and the cost of the homes and materials used were presented in marketing posters as a culmination of each engineering project.
To emulate a real-life engineering project environment, each member within a group was given a specific job title as project manager, structural engineer, design engineer (architect) or marketing manager. Each student explored her job and listed associated responsibilities.
The award-winning Bangladesh prototype included a turbine that would raise the home up one story in the event of a disaster while releasing two fully stocked life boats that could be released by an indoor lock.
The Archdiocese of Newark determined this sustainable home, with its accompanying engineering notebook and marketing poster, represented the best prototype from all those submitted by diocesan high schools participating in the program.
The National Catholic Educational Association Convention will be held in St. Louis, Missouri in April.