Mechanical Engineering Activity Box

Dive into the world of moving machines and equipment!
Related Engineering Disciplines: Mechanical Engineering
You can learn more about this box and purchase it here.

To know more about our programming, visit: and follow @discovereuofa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube for more exciting content for kids!

Engineering Activity Box Extensions and Tips

Exploring Pulleys: See how many different combinations of pulleys you can create. Does adding more pulleys make it easier to lift a load?

Crash Test Car: Build a ramp out of materials you find at home and do a collision test by pushing your car down the ramp. This will increase the momentum of the car!

Hydraulic Maze: Remove the water from the syringes and use air instead. What differences do you notice between a system that uses liquids, and a system that uses a gas like air?

Biomedical Instrumentation Lab (BIL)

Biomedical Instrumentation Lab

The Biomedical Instrumentation Lab researches injury and how to prevent it using protection gear like helmets and armour. They are engineers that try to understand how things including crashes,
collisions, and explosions create injury in humans. Kevin Adanty is a graduate student studying how the skull breaks in impacts so that we can better understand how to prevent this serious injury. Gabriella Wynn is a graduate student that is developing a test-dummy of the head and neck to be used in helmet testing. Ashton Martin, an engineering graduate, worked on projects related to tackling in football, such as the forces involved, to understand how forces might be reduced. He is now continuing his work as a graduate student!

What do you think is the future of mechanical engineering?
Gabriella: This question is difficult to answer since mechanical engineering
is such a diverse field. Overall, I think mechanical engineering will become more interdisciplinary. The field of injury biomechanics itself is already quite integrated, as it implements human anatomy and physiology alongside the technical fields (physics, math, etc.). As technology advances, mechanical design and simulations will also become increasingly important; thus, finite element analysis and computer aided design (CAD) will continue to play a large role in future research.

What is your favourite thing about your career?
Ashton: I have the tools and the know-how to wake up one day and start building or researching anything I desire.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Gabriella: Moving across the country on my own to pursue new opportunities.

Want to learn more about the biomedical instrumentation lab? Check out the following recommended resources!


Dean Chan

Dean Chan

Dean is an engineer in the construction industry with experience in cranes, fall protection, scaffold, and quality management. He graduated from the University of Alberta in 1995 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In his free time Dean enjoys cooking, baking, rugby, and martial arts.

What do you think is the future of mechanical engineering?
I think we'll see a lot more product prototypes being developed extremely quickly due to advances in 3D printing.

What is your favorite thing about your career?
I like being the person that people turn to when they've run into a problem and no one else can help them.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Living on Salt Spring Island writing books about engineering.

Want to learn more about mechanical engineering? Check out the following recommended resources!
Other Resources: The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta


Laura Watkins-Finning

Laura Watkins-Finning

After majoring in Operations Management at the University of Alberta, Laura started her career as a front line supervisor with General Motors at the Oshawa Car Assembly Plant. She subsequently returned to Edmonton and began her 15 year tenure with OEM Remanufacturing, supporting large engine and powertrain component rebuilds for Finning Canada and CAT customers in western Canada. During her time at OEM she has oversaw the planning department, and has managed different production and technical teams and supply chain operations. For the past three years, in her role as Director of Remanufacturing Engines and Undercarriage, Laura has focused on creating operational efficiency and increasing the remanufacturing value proposition by engaging the OEM team in initiatives that continuously improve process and quality.

What do you think is the future of mechanical engineering?
I think there will always be a need for mechanical engineering, there will always be equipment that needs to be designed and maintained whether that be machinery that we use in our daily lives or that which runs our businesses and infrastructure. I think that understanding data, technology, and how you can use those items to the best advantage will become paramount to success in all engineering fields.

What is your favourite mode of transportation?
While it might not be my preferred method of transportation through the winter months in Alberta, the simplicity of the bicycle mechanisms, and its ability to be accessible to almost everyone in the world is remarkable to me.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Raising three young boys to be authentic and resilient.

Want to learn more about mechanical engineering? Check out the following recommended resources!
Other Resources: Association for Manufacturing Excellence


Portia Rayner

Portia Rayner

Portia is a third-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Alberta. She is passionate about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for K-12 kids, especially for groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in these fields. She loves reading about topics in the biomedical engineering field and tinkering with different projects. In the future, she plans on pursuing graduate degrees on the topics of soft robotics, preventative/rehabilitative medicine for athletes, and 3D printing. She spends her free time reading, watching Netflix, and walking her dog.

What made you want to study mechanical engineering?
When I started studying engineering, I was sure that I wanted to specialize in either chemical or materials engineering. I was really interested in biomaterials, medicine delivery systems, and artificial organs. Over
the course of my first year, however, I was exposed to a lot of different and interesting projects on the mechanical side of biomedical engineering. The accessibility and hands- on nature of mechanical engineering really appealed to me.

What is your favourite thing about your career?
I like the range of opportunities that is available to me. There are many key skills that can be used in many different areas of mechanical engineering.

What is your favourite mode of transportation?
Ironically, walking.

Want to learn more about mechanical engineering? Check out the following recommended resources.
Other Resources: ; ;


Sarah Toogood

Sarah Toogood

Sarah is a Mechanical EIT at Switch Engineering. She has experience in HVAC design and assessments, building energy audits, solar and system design, geotechnical testing and inspections, pipeline integrity project management, and coordinating outreach programs. Sarah plays a key role in the design and project management of mechanical retrofit projects specializing in energy efficiency for commercial and industrial buildings at Switch Engineering. Sarah received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 2018.

What made you want to study mechanical engineering?
I had an interest in math & physics, and wanted job opportunities in the end.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to progress in the company as a professional engineer

What's your go-to karaoke song?
22- Taylor Swift

Want to learn more about Switch Engineering? Check out the following social media sites!
Switch Engineering: Instagram

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