If you’re an engineer, a wannabe engineer, or a future engineer – you might know that March is National Engineering and Geoscience Month. EGBC and others host events around the province to promote the good work and cool things that engineers get to do every day.
The Engineers and Geoscientists BC Tri-City Branch hosted their annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition in on April 7th at Douglas College in Coquitlam. Elementary and middle school students were in attendance to test their bridge designs and learn about the Engineering and Geosciences profession.
Lots of little eager minds visited the Ebbwater booth to learn about floods and rivers. Ebbwater’s physical river model is used both for client workshops and educational events like this one. It helps to explain the basic concepts around rivers and flooding while letting people get their hands (and sometimes other parts of their bodies) wet!
Figure 1: Nikoletta and Heather of Ebbwater explaining river floods to students
Participants can place little red houses along the river to represent settlements and then choose from a variety of different options to mitigate flooding. There are sponges to represent wetlands and upstream retention, as well as clay that can be used to build dikes or dams. They can also choose light rain or heavy rain for the flood event. Needless to say, the students mostly wanted big storms and heavy rain!
Participants tried a variety of solutions to keep the little red houses safe from these big storms, but two stood out. One enthusiastic participant wanted to build the biggest dike possible! We must say, they achieved their goal with a large and multi coloured clay dike. Another, however, took a different approach. They wanted lots of wetlands upstream and put their house up on the hill. Looks like there are many different ideas about structural and non-structural flood mitigation even amongst elementary and middle school students. Overall the event helped to increase awareness of different aspects of the engineering and geosciences profession in our community and especially to the youth. Hope to see you at the next demonstration where you can try out your own solution to mitigate flooding along our river!
Figure 2: Volunteers at the EGBC Tri-City Chapter National Engineering Month event