A lesson in engineering

Cross Street Intermediate School fifth-graders, from left, Breanna Delagrange, Nicole Del Re, Alia Filandro and Emma Rocchio transport a balloon across their classroom using only strings attached to a roll of masking tape Feb. 4. –LUKE MARSHALL

Cross Street Intermediate School fifth-graders, from left, Breanna Delagrange, Nicole Del Re, Alia Filandro and Emma Rocchio transport a balloon across their classroom using only strings attached to a roll of masking tape Feb. 4. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Fifth-graders at Cross Street Intermediate School received a glimpse into the world of engineering Feb. 4.

University of Connecticut students and engineering majors Genesis Quiles-Galarza, Myle Gibbs, Josh Leveillee and Casey Seymour came to Cross Street to talk to students about what engineers do and why they are important.

The lesson of the day focused on Nomura’s Jellyfish, which are causing havoc off of Japan’s coasts. The jellyfish, which can reach up to 440 pounds each, have been making fishing nearly impossible and have even capsized a couple of fishing boats, Leveillee said.

University of Connecticut student Josh Leveillee looks on as Cross Street Intermediate School fifth-graders William Brown, left, and Gabriella Jordan create a machine out of string, paperclips and rubber bands that will help them stack cups Feb. 4. –LUKE MARSHALL

University of Connecticut student Josh Leveillee looks on as Cross Street Intermediate School fifth-graders William Brown, left, and Gabriella Jordan create a machine out of string, paperclips and rubber bands that will help them stack cups Feb. 4. –LUKE MARSHALL

Leveillee told the students that although the issue is an environmental and fishing problem it could be solved by engineering. Engineers from around the world came together at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to design a mechanical jellyfish that would lead Nomura’s Jellyfish to deeper waters and away from Japan’s shores.

After explaining the how engineering can be used to solve real-world problems, the UConn students gave the Cross Street students two engineering problems to work on.

The first problem was how to stack cups using only paperclips, string and rubber bands.

The second problem was how to transport a balloon on top of a roll of masking tape using only string.

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