Hillside Middle School Visits the University of New Hampshire, June 5, 2015

110 seventh graders and seven teachers/teaching aids from Hillside Middle School in Manchester, New Hampshire, visited the University of New Hampshire on Friday, June 5 for a tour of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) facilities at UNH. The tour featured talks from professors in the science and technology fields, including civil, mechanical, and ocean engineering with help from student researchers. The seventh grade students also created their own structures (using Popsicle sticks, spaghetti, etc.) and tested them on a shaketable in the civil engineering testing facility, and finished the day with lunch at the UNH dining hall, Philbrook. HillsideVisit2015_Map HillsideVisit2015_Introduction2
(Click on images to go to the image gallery)

Shaketable Demonstration

  • Middle school students brought their buildings made by Popsicle sticks, spaghetti, cardboard paper, etc.
  • Buildings were subjected to different earthquake excitations to test their structural stability
  • Many buildings collapsed!
  • Some survived!
Hosts: Dr. Tat Fu and Rui Zhang (a PhD Candidate)Tat Fu  Rui ZangRelated research project: http://smartbuildings.unh.edu/?page_id=78

Smartphone Demonstration

  • Students used a smartphone application to gauge their understanding of damping and stiffness impact on a structure
  • There were groups of four phones with different combinations of stiffness and damping
  • They were asked to determine which phone represented which structure based on the visual response displayed on the phones

Hosts: Dr. Tat Fu and Kyle Wyatt (a MS student)

Tat Fu  Kyle Wyatt

Related research project: http://smartbuildings.unh.edu/?page_id=78


Toy Engineering Demonstration

  • Showed students how a wind-up toy would prevent itself from falling from the edge of a table
  • Engaged students on how to design such a toy and mechanism
  • Explained the engineering design behind this toy

Host: Dr. Robert Henry

Robert Henry

Dr. Henry’s website:



Materials Demonstration

  • Dr. Dave ran an introductory session of the importance of materials in civil engineering
  • Students were presented with samples of asphalt and concrete, and were shown the prevalence of both materials as essential parts of our infrastructure
  • Dispelled many misconceptions surrounding some of our most common materials used in civil engineering

Host: Dr. Eshan Dave

Eshan Dave

Dr. Eshan’s website:



Wind Tunnel Demonstration

  • Outside, students were first presented with an introduction about wind and the wind tunnel itself
  • Inside, graduate students talked about research projects on display
  • The students were then shown the wind tunnel, which was turned on and the students tried to guess the wind speed, and change their height and position to see if they could notice changes in the wind

Hosts: Dr. Martin Wosnik and John Turner (a PhD student)

Martin Wosnik

Dr. Wosnik’s website:



Ocean Engineering Demonstration

  • Students were given a tour of the Chase Ocean Engineering high bay and the ocean mapping center
  • The students saw where UNH designed their own ROV and future research ship, a 360,000 gallon testing tank and an augmented reality sandbox.
  • Students were shown live feeds of two research ships being used by UNH and a collection of interesting finds along the sea floor
Hosts: Ms. Tara Johnson and Mr. Andy McLeodAndy and TaraRelated research project:

Students create a Tuned Mass Damper!


Thank you cards from the middle school students


Hillside Students send Thank Yous to UNH Professors and Students!


This website was created by Matthew McGinnis and Dr. Tat Fu in June, 2015