I designed this workshop specifically for women who are considering entering a non-traditional occupation (trade or technology) and who have had little formal exposure to mechanical concepts that are considered “common sense” by those who have had that exposure. The goal is to help build confidence as well as to build an understanding of basic mechanical terminology and concepts.
This workshop is typically offered through the Women Unlimited program. Of course, this workshop can be delivered to any gender! But the original intent and subsequent deliveries have been to groups of women.
We use mechanical objects all the time. We drive cars, push wheelbarrows, swivel in chairs, and pick up hot food with tongs. Mechanics may not make the world go round, but it certainly makes things in the world go round.
My approach in this workshop is governed by the belief that you already have some level of mechanical aptitude. It may not be high, but you have some, and by the end of the workshop, you will have strengthened your existing mechanical aptitude.
The workshop has three goals:
- To give you the opportunity to learn basic mechanical principles, so they will be easier to understand if you later need to use them in a job, a training program, or on an aptitude test.
- To encourage you to look at everyday mechanical objects that you see and use from the point of view of a manufacturer or a repairer, rather than from the point of view of just being a user or consumer.
- To strengthen whatever level of mechanical aptitude you already have.
Specific topics include mechanical advantage, levers and the effort-distance tradeoff, gears: how they move, their relative direction and relative speed of rotation. (You get to cut out your own gears. You can even colour them if you want.) You’ll see pulleys and belts: their speeds and direction of rotation. (You’ll look at a washline with a whole new perspective). And, you’ll see block and tackle arrangements. Depending on the objectives of the specific workshop, I may also include basic information on electrical circuits, flow charts, tools, fasteners, and more.
I encourage woman to develop their awareness and to take an active look at the mechanical objects in their lives. We all use mechanical principles; this workshop is an effort to help you recognize them and build on that recognition to strengthen your mechanical abilities.