Sage O’Brien, Alexis Miller, Lauren Gredicek, & Olga Hernandez
There are 3 main pathways you can choose at ARS, Engineering, Bio-Med, and Media Tech. In our Project Lead The Way (PLTW) class we had the option to do one of the three pathways which our modules are based off of. Our group chose Engineering because we all found a lot of interest in building and designing. After we chose our module it was time to start!
Our first module was based off the design process. We learned about all things that were necessary to make a design and execute our plans. The first step of the design process is define the problem. The problem was that Ms. Rutz was having a dance party but her phone was not producing music loud enough. We thought about the problem and what we had to do. We decided to make her a speaker that would help increase the phones volume. We brainstormed ideas, then used the design matrix to score each design. When we created our design matrix, the first thing we made was the criteria. Then we picked our scale, which was 1-5, 5 being the highest. Once we settled on an idea we built the prototype. We found that the sound was getting lost in the cups so we had to innovate our design until we noticed an improvement in sound quality. Our Final product was done and ready to turn in. We had to check our solution to fit the criteria, then once we were sure it did we turned in our final product.
After learning the design process we had to apply the knowledge we learned to the our new module. In the Engineering Module it challenges you to build a bridge that can withstand the most weight. To qualify for first place your bridge had to fit certain requirements. The requirements were…
-only use toothpicks, cotton thread and elmer’s glue.
-No more than 40g
We followed the same steps of the design process that we did for our speakers; and we were able to produce a wonderful, final product.
When we were building both the speaker and bridge, we learned, not everything goes the way you plan. When your design doesn’t go as planned, you can’t just quit. You have to be able to think of ways to make your design better. In life, you have to do this all the time. Experiencing the engineering pathway gave us the skills of learning how to think of new ideas. We also realized how important it is to have theese skills. Life is a game of trial and errors, and if you chose to give up the first time around, you’ll never be successful in what you’re trying to achieve. Sometimes your worst mistakes lead to your greatest achievements.
Choosing to do the engineering pathway has allowed us to learn how to carry out a project when given criteria. This is a very useful tool in life and can be applied to many aspects of our lives, present and future. It has also allowed us to build our ideas and express our creativity while collaborating with a group of girls productively. It has taught us many skills that we will use throughout our lifetimes. Engineering in our PLTW class is an applicable and essential part of our lives.