• 5th and 6th Grade:  Design and Modeling

    The goal of this class is to introduce students to the design process and skills essential to design and modeling. The use of a common measurement system is essential for communicating and fabricating designs.

    Students will: Participate in design challenges to create optimal solutions to given problems and apply what they have learned to understand the importance of using the design process. They will understand thumbnail, perspective, isometric, and multi-view sketching as methods for communicating design ideas effectively with and without the use of technology. They will understand conversions between two measurement systems and apply measurement skills while dimensioning sketches and conduct mechanical dissection to better understand how objects and parts interact. They will also utilize 2D and 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design), laser cutting/etching, 3D printing and several other tools and machines to solve these problems.


    7th Grade:  Engineering

    The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) defines engineering as “The profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to use, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.” Therefore the responsibility of an engineer is to develop judgment so that they can help mankind in economical ways.

    Humans have used technology – the process by which humans modify nature – to meet their needs and wants since the dawn of time. Staying fed, warm, and safe were full-time activities for early humans.

    The time it takes human knowledge to double has shortened from a million years to less than a generation. Students today have twice as much to learn as their parents. This knowledge has led to interesting social, environmental, and ethical questions like: Should homes be destroyed to build highways that will benefit the overall community? Should an electrical generation plant be allowed to operate even if it damages the environment? Should genetically engineered people or cloning be banned?

    The ability to use more natural resources has resulted in changes in our society. The domestication of animals, the discovery of the use of metals, and the concepts of simple machines impact the way we live. More recently, events such as the Industrial Revolution have changed our lives and working patterns. The Information Age we currently live in has provided for advances undreamed of one hundred years ago.

    What role will today’s students play in this ongoing process? The ability to use knowledge to create and process resources in new ways will take us to the stars, cure diseases, and create new problems for us to solve. Most career choices will involve the use of technology. An understanding of engineering and technology and its impact is essential to today’s students and our future society.

    In 2010, 7.6 million people or 5.5 percent of the labor force worked in STEM occupations. Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs, and STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the coming decade. Meanwhile, STEM workers are also less likely to experience joblessness. 

    Further findings show STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. STEM degree holders also enjoy higher earnings, regardless of whether they work in STEM or non-STEM occupations. Likewise, college graduates – no matter what their major – enjoy an earnings premium for having a STEM job.

    During this course, students will students will learn about STEM careers and how they impact the past, present, and future.  Students will keep an engineering notebook and portfolio of their inventions and innovations.


    8th Grade:  Automation and Robotics

    Automation and robotics include computer-controlled machines used to make manufacturing more efficient, productive, and safe. Some of this equipment is used to perform jobs or to explore places that humans cannot. Robots are also used as assistive tools for people with disabilities and as equipment in hospitals to help with surgery, to deliver food, or to dispense medications. Robots are becoming popular household helpers, performing chores like vacuuming and mowing lawns.

    Scientists say that future generation robots will be able to clean up, take out the trash, or even care for an elderly parent. Robots are currently out of reach for many people due to prohibitive costs, but designers predict there will come a time when robots will be commonplace. Japanese companies wish to place 30,000 robots into Japanese homes by 2013. What's driving research in Japan is the fact that 20 percent of the population is over the age of 65. It is not surprising that robots are seen as a way to care for the aged and to replenish the work force. For now, though, scientists admit that robots have limited capabilities and mobility. Therefore, they have a relatively small number of everyday uses. Experts say that it is difficult to envision robots in the future because technology is advancing so rapidly. They note that two or three decades ago, few people would have envisioned that the Internet would become so ubiquitous or that almost everyone would be walking around with a cell phone.

    During this course, students will describe the purpose of automation and robotics and its effect on society, summarize ways that robots are used in today’s world and the impact of their use on society, describe positive and negative effects of automation and robotics on humans in terms of safety and economics and provide examples of STEM careers and the need for these professionals in our society.



    Department Member:

    David Ponterio