Thursday, 15 May 2014

Day 8: A lot of glue, newspaper, and fun :)

Hello People of the Interwebs!

For Day 4 of the Summer Camp in BCA, Emily, Jackie and I (Aditi) wanted to focus on Material Science & Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering.  For the first project of the day, we decided to introduce the world of Material Science and Chemical Engineering by creating "Bouncy Balls"; by combining glue, cornstarch, water, and borax (laundry detergent), students would be able to create their own bouncy ball. We had asked the school to provide us with the glue -- we needed quite a bit of it, and I'm sure TSA would not have approved of us transporting an obscene amount of Elmer's Glue to India. 

Emily and her polymer slime
The school provided us with "Fevicol," and quite a lot of it. Just to be on the safe side, we decided to test out the recipe in advance -- thank goodness we did. When we mixed the ingredients, we got a very messy, sticky substance. After testing different recipes we found that fevicol takes out the "bounce" in the bouncy ball activity. So we switched gears and decided to focus on the real concepts: Polymers! Instead of creating a bouncy ball, students would create 4 balls of varying recipes to determine the connection between the ingredients, and the physical properties of the balls.

Much like Emily in the photo above, we found that the students enjoyed getting their hands dirty, and experimenting with different recipes - we even had time for them to create their own. The school still has quite a lot of fevicol left...if you have any ideas on experiments/projects that will use it in mass, please let us know!

For the second activity, we decided to increase the scale, and focus civil engineering by building large newspaper structures! We briefly discussed civil engineering and construction management, then jumped into the project. 

Students were instructed that they needed to create a newspaper structure large enough to fit at least one of their team members inside. Each group was given a budget of 100 points - the team with the most points would "win" the competition. For the first individual they were able to house in the structure, teams earned 50 points - for each additional individual they earned 40 points. They had to strategically purchase newspaper, tape, and scissors from the "store" (aka the SWE reps in the room). We gave the students the following rules:

Taking a peak at Team K's structure
1) Only purchased materials can be used
2) Materials can only be purchased from the “store” - not from other teams
3) You cannot steal materials from other teams
4) You can spend more points than you have
5) School walls and desks etc, cannot be used
6) No person inside or outside can be touching the structure at the end
7) The teammates inside must be surrounded by the structure
8) To qualify for the competition, you must pay for an “inspection” (SWE reps verify that you followed the rules)

Team K and their Structure
There were quite a few successful teams - they understood that rolling the newspaper into tubes would allow for a sturdy structure, and there were benefits and repercussions for 1) making a structure for a sitting person vs. a standing person, 2) including one person in the structure vs. multiple, 3) purchasing items in mass vs. purchasing items incrementally. I hope that the students were able to grasp a larger understanding of engineering and how it connects to other fields (i.e economics and business) by participating in this activity. 

One of the winning teams: Team L
After a brief presentation on common majors, we had a discussion with the female students of the BCA school. We wanted to spend some time chatting with the girls, getting them to open up, and encouraging them to follow their passions. We also wanted to find out if they were interested in careers in STEM. We asked them questions such as "Who are your role models?" "What is your dream school?""What would you like to study in college" "Would you consider studying internationally" etc. We were thrilled to hear that quite a few of them were interested in pursuing engineering, and we were truly honored and touched when we heard some of them say that they would like to be like us when they are older.

After lunch, and the teachers' discussion, we went on a tour of the Walchandnagar "colony." We were able to see where quite a lot of the Walchandnagar Industries' employees live (and also where a few BCA students live), and the surrounding market place. We were also able to stop by Bharatgatta, a large park within the Walchandnagar Industries' company campus.

Colony Life

The main office of Walchandnagar Industries

This used to be a pool! Look at the diving blocks!
Beautiful Flowers

Mango Tree! You might Shobhita in one of these!  

Gates of Bharatgatta Park

After returning to the guest house, we made preparations for our last day of Summer Camp.....I really can't believe how fast the days have gone by!

In closing, we are having a wonderful time working with the students and teachers of BCA, and one another. I wish we were able to spend more time in Walchandnagar, but I am really looking forward to embarking on the next adventure with all these SWEet ladies! Special shout-out to all of you in Michigan -- my parents, grandparents and sister (Anjana) -- I'm missing you all like crazy! Can't wait to share more with all of you!

To all of you on the interwebs, stay tuned for more SWE Overseas adventures.


Aditi Rajagopal
Senior, Class of 2014
Computer Engineering + Entrepreneurship

All the cute faces <3

Taking lots of pictures!

Taking a break from class preparation :)

We really really like chocolate...we basically finished a whole box
Just for fun :)


  1. Fevicol looks to be ethylene vinyl acetate, which is similar to polyvinyl acetate used in elmer's glue. I've never added corn starch when I've made flubber. I would recommend trying another batch without the corn starch.

    The product will be sticky for a while. Make sure you stir with a wood spoon long enough for it to start to clump together.

  2. If there was a "love" button here, I would click it. Enjoyed the pictures!