Hamilton Middle School Partners in Education rain gutter regatta

Partners in Education

Pickering Associates is proud to be a Partner in Education with Hamilton Middle School in Parkersburg, WV, and, as of 2018, Pickering is now a partner with Marietta Middle School in Marietta, OH. In addition to providing volunteer and financial support throughout the school year, our team hosts four activity days, with each school, with students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

Kids building tower out of newspapers

Tower of Power

Our team uses the ‘Tower of Power” project to challenge students to work as a team, design and build a structurally sound tower out of limited materials that is not only be tall enough to get a ‘good signal’, but is strong enough to support the delicate equipment – a raw egg. With 40 minutes of design and building time, students have to focus on what was the most practical approach, as opposed to what looks cool but isn’t functional. Students are only allowed to use newspaper, string, and tape to build their towers. Over the years, students’ towers have ranged from 12” to 109” tall, measured from the gym floor to the bottom of the egg. Lead by Keri Dunn, our Contract Administrator, the students learn the benefits and challenges of working with a project team.

Chemical Engineering Day

In an effort to get students excited about science, Patrick Flora, a Chemical Engineer here at Pickering Associates, demonstrates a variety of chemistry concepts to 6th grade students while explaining polymers, chemical decomposition, and the pH scale. A crowd favorite is an experiment that Flora calls “The Whoosh Bottle,” where he shows how a change in pressure can create a strong vacuum by lighting a flame inside of a 5-gallon water bottle. At the end students learn about ratios and mix ingredients to make their own “silly putty” using glue, borax and water. Ultimately, Flora hopes to instill the students with the idea that a career in Chemical Engineering can be very rewarding.

Chemical Engineering demonstrating experiment to kids
Pickering Associates hosting Rain-Gutter Regatta at Marietta Middle School

Rain-Gutter Regatta

In an effort to get 7th grade students excited about recycling and creative problem solving, Pickering Associates hosts the Rain Gutter Regatta. Jesse Daubert, an Environmental Scientist at Pickering Associates, speaks with students about the importance of recycling and how our decisions as consumers affect the environment. Students work in teams to design and build a boat using only recycled materials and masking tape. Pickering Associates provides recycled plastics, cardboard and paper borrowed from the Parkersburg Recycling Center. After the students build their boats, they race them two at a time down the rain gutter, using only ‘wind power’ (or, their breath) to power their vessels. Afterwards, all materials are returned to the Recycling Center to be turned into something new.

Innovation Day

This Spring, Pickering Associates brought Technology Education to 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Hamilton and Marietta Middle School with a presentation focused on 3D Technology Design and Virtual Reality Development. Students have an opportunity to learn more about a variety of topics through activities lead by our professionals. This year, B.I.M. Manager Chris Algmin focused on what Building Information Modeling (B.I.M.) is as a department and how we are utilizing this technology in the world of design and construction. This is a new topic for the students and we hope to be able to continue in sharing this topic with students as the world of technology and Virtual Reality continues to grow and develop as an industry.

3D and Point Cloud scan of Harmar Bridge