Engineering students join South Bend school kids for technological discovery day

by William G. Gilroy


University of Notre Dame College of Engineering undergraduates will be working with 350 fifth-grade students from the South Bend Community School Corporation Friday (Sept. 3) as part of a technological discovery day titled, “I2D2 — Imagination, Innovation, Discovery and Design at Notre Dame.”

The event will take place in the Stepan Center between 10:15 a.m. and 1:40 p.m.

The students will participate in two active learning projects designed to help them learn about the kinds of questions that engineers and scientists ask and answer, such as “Why do things work the way they do?” and “How do we make them work better?”

In the “Irish Pet Project,” first-year Notre Dame engineering students will work with their fifth-grade “customers” to brainstorm ideas for toy robotic pets. The Notre Dame students will then design and build these pets using the LEGO®Mindstorms® NXT system and demonstrate them at the intermediate schools at a later date, when the fifth-graders will judge them.

The South Bend students also will participate in the “2010 Domer Freewheeling Derby,” during which they will design and race LEGO vehicles to learn about energy and motion. Through racing their designs and collecting data, the students will learn how scientists and engineers test their ideas with experiments.
In addition to designing a robotic pet and competing in the derby, the students will learn about educational options available to them in engineering and sciences, have lunch on campus, be given a campus tour and receive their own LEGO kit.

Sponsors of the I2D2 include Innovation Park at Notre Dame, LEGO, David and Denise Brenner, Barnes and Thornburg, Emu Solutions, STEM City, Konica Minolta and Graham Allen Partners.

Contact: Jay Brockman, 574-631-8810,; or Kerry Meyers, 574-631-0972,
From: William G. Gilroy, assistant director, public relations