People of all ages gathered Saturday to build trebuchets and play in a bouncy castle.

Photo by Andrew Memije.
Photo by Andrew Memije.

As part of UBCO’s Homecoming celebrations, the Geering Up UBC Engineering and Science for Kids organization hosted their Engineering Extravaganza on 20 October from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm.

Admission to the event was free, and by registering early, those in attendance were given up to two ten dollar food vouchers for the food trucks parked nearby.

The event, which took place outside on the lower level of the EME building, included a bouncy castle, a dunk tank, and, most popular amongst kids and adults alike, a trebuchet building competition. Using building instructions provided by Geering Up, participants learned the science behind how a trebuchet works—how potential energy stored in the tension of elastic bands can be converted into kinetic energy, resulting in the launching of a small projectile. After just a few minutes of construction, children were already testing out their newly built contraptions, with miniature projectiles flying all across the courtyard.

Photo by Andrew Memije.
Photo by Andrew Memije.

By exposing participants, and especially young children, to the practical applications of engineering, Geering Up hopes to promote science and technology education and to show kids how fun, exciting, and useful programs in the field can be. According to their website, Geering Up “strives to reach all children and youth, regardless of gender, ethnicity, culture or socio-economic status, with special outreach for those groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.”

Judging by the turnout to the Extravaganza, Geering Up is doing a pretty great job. Amongst those firing silver and gold balls with popsicle stick trebuchets were boys and girls as young as 6 and 7, and those too young to participate stood by to watch.