Building the Future

The 2019 Building the Future outreach event to be held 14 November 2019

Program description: Building the Future is an outreach activity of the Iowa Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi – The Engineering Honor Society. The event brings middle school students and their teachers to the ISU campus to experience hands-on engineering. Activities are based around the scenario of a tornado hitting a small town and what engineers can do to help. Following a general session at the beginning of the day, the students will undertake 4 different activities all specially designed to introduce them to various types of engineering:

(i) The students will visit the Iowa State University Wind Tunnels to observe the effect of high winds and tornados on buildings.

(ii) Using popsicle sticks and brass fasteners, they will build a bridge to replace one destroyed in the tornado that allows an ambulance to cross a ravine.


(iii) Using popsicle sticks, plastic spoons and other materials they will build a wind energy generator to provide power for the emergency efforts.


(iv) Using groundwater models they will investigate how chemical spills or other pollution might affect the ground water and water supply for the town.

The day concludes with a general session about what they learned that engineers do.


Number of Participants: Due to space restrictions this year participation will be limited to approximately 50 middle school students.

Activities:  Groups of students rotate between the 4 activities, each of which lasts about 45 minutes.

Lunch: two pieces of pizza and a drink will be provided to participants.  Participants are also free to bring their own lunch.

Event date/time: The 2019 Building the Future event will be held on Thursday, 14 November 2019 from about 9:00 am to about 1:30 pm.

Following is a flyer describing the 2019 Building the Future event (pdf)

Location: Activities will take place in the Sukup Hall Atrium and room 1215, and Howe Hall Atrium and room 1380.

Parent Permission Agreement: To participate in Building the Future the following agreement needs to be completed and signed by the student’s parent/guardian and brought to event (pdf)

For more information contact LeVern Faidley, Iowa Alpha Chief Advisor, at or the Iowa Alpha Project Officers by sending an E-mail to: