We often face investment decisions, whether in our personal lives or our jobs. Investment projects involve payments at different times in a project's life. Capital costs are usually paid at early stages, but revenue is generated in the future. Time affects the value of money, and these values can't be compared directly. In EME 460, Geo-Resources Evaluation and Investment Analysis, we will learn methods to evaluate investment projects. The objective of the course is to ensure students learn the techniques used in geo-resource project evaluation, cash flow, net present value, and rate of return analysis; benefit cost ratio and payback period; interest rate and break even calculations; tax considerations, mutually exclusive projects evaluation, uncertainty and risks, depreciation, and loan calculations.
Through a five-lesson series with five activities, students are introduced to six simple machines inclined plane, wedge, screw, lever, pulley, wheel-and-axle as well as compound machines, which are combinations of two or more simple machines. Once students understand about work (work = force x distance), they become familiar with the machines' mechanical advantages, and see how they make work easier. Through an introduction to compound machines, students begin to think critically about machine inventions and their pervasive roles in our lives. After learning about Rube Goldberg contraptions absurd inventions that complete simple tasks in complicated ways they evaluate the importance and usefulness of the many machines around them. Through the hands-on activities, students draw designs for contraptions that could move a circus elephant into a rail car, create a construction site ramp design by measuring different inclined planes and calculating the ideal vs. actual mechanical advantage of each, compare the theoretical and actual mechanical advantages of different pulley systems conceived to save a whale, build and test grape catapults made with popsicle sticks and rubber bands, and follow the steps of the engineering design process to design and build Rube Goldberg machines.
In this activity, students explore how trebuchets were used during the Middle Ages to launch projectiles over or through castle walls as well as how they are used today in events such as Punkin’ Chunkin’. Students work as teams of engineers and research how to design and build their own trebuchets from scratch while following a select number of constraints. They test their trebuchets, evaluate their results through several quantitative analyses, and present their results and design process to the class.