KPFF Presents Structural Engineering Concepts

Our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce promotes the nation’s innovation and competitiveness by producing new ideas, new companies and new industries. STEM education plays a critical role in creating the future scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians for the jobs of tomorrow. KPFF recently collaborated with the Foss Waterway Seaport Education Program as volunteers, to present an overview of the industry, and to support the region’s STEM learning objectives. The program provides a platform in classrooms to prioritize applied learning, and promote student involvement, interest, and accomplishment in the STEM fields.


Working in partnership with the Foss Waterway Seaport and the Ikkatsu Project (a marine conservation awareness organization), and other local environmental groups, KPFF served as a resource in this innovative educational pilot program for 2015 entitled "An Ocean Transformed”.  The program agenda consisted of providing 6 local classrooms an opportunity to design and build a marine debris sculpture to be displayed at the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum from May-October 2015.  

KPFF’s role in the program involved presentations covering basic structural engineering concepts to help students better understand how to design a sculpture. Using collected trash, the students were engaged in hands on activities related to concepts KPFF presented on building simple structures, to illustrate what works, and what doesn't work.


With the support of the local artists, students submitted drawings of sculpture concepts, and technical drawings they came up with to KPFF. Represented by 4 engineers out of the Tacoma office: Ian Frank, PE, Bekah Osterhaus, PE; Sean Story, EIT; and Raechel Chandler, EIT; KPFF discussed strengths and weaknesses of the designs, demonstrated through animated digital renditions of the designs. The engineers also incorporated additional design examples covering methods of identifying13 and solving design issues, followed by discussions of technical terms such Tension, Compression, and Flexure, and Materials.


Students worked with KPFF to make needed modifications to their designs, for final construction and installation of the sculptures at the Seaport Museum.  The sculptures will be on display May 17 through October 2015.

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