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STEM | Checkers Industrial, NCAR, and CU Boulder

March 17, 2016

On Thursday March 10, our ECS visited Checkers Industrial Safety Products. Checkers is a company that makes safety equipment for the coal and construction industry. There products are shipped from Broomfield to all around the world. They showed us the different steps of making a product from designing, prototyping, to refining, to manufacturing. It was cool to see that they make the products in the same facility where they design them. In one experiment, a materials scientist showed us how mixing two liquids together creates very hard foam that can be used for a variety of the company’s mats. This trip showed us how engineering is prominent in our everyday lives because they make products like cable protectors and wheel chocks.

On Friday morning we visited NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research), which focuses on predicting weather patterns, researching climate change, and studying weather events like hurricanes and solar flares. NCAR is located in the foothills, and it is beautiful! We watched a few short documentaries on their work and the weather patterns in both Boulder and also space weather. They also had hands-on exhibits to demonstrate different weather cycles and systems like hurricanes, clouds, tornadoes, and wind. It was interesting to see the different types of machines they use to track storms. Maybe with the problems of global warming, this organization’s work will become more important.

Friday afternoon we took a tour of CU Boulder’s engineering department. This was a different experience for us because they focused more on chemical engineering. This was also interesting because it showed us engineering that we could do in the near future if we want to study engineering in college. We saw a couple different labs and workspaces where students can design and build projects. The chemical and biological department in Boulder is one of the best, and graduates are getting very good jobs.