From Sandwich to House by: Marlene Mora

Lately I’ve been exploring engineering modules in class with my group in PLTW. My name is Marlene Mora and I won’t lie, my first option wasn’t always engineering. I had thought that biomedical science was more of my thing. That doesn’t mean I completely dismissed engineering. The recent module I completed was an engineering module called

Construction and Fabrication Basics. The reason I decided to try this module was because we got to build and birdhouse and you can’t tell me you’ve never wanted to build a birdhouse. Am I right? Well I figured this would be a great introduction to a couple of main things. Creativity, tools, and teamwork.

At the start of this module we did the basic design process and that’s where it all really started. I was kind of nervous in the beginning because I had never really built anything and the prospect of using power tools and even regular tools was kind of intimidating but my friends helped me work through it.

Our first challenge was to make a wood sandwich and that was more of an introduction to the real stuff we would be working with. This was just a simple project to get us familiar with the power tools and with different screws and bolts. Even though we struggled a bit I feel that without that experience we wouldn’t have been as comfortable building the birdhouse then if we would’ve just jumped in.

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Now the birdhouse. This was definitely an interesting experience. We had moments where we were all like, “OMG I can’t believe we were able to do this!” Or we would have those, “ We’re never going to finish, this is a disaster!!” I felt the most frustration during the process of using the tools or when things didn’t go exactly how it was planned. For example after we had finished building the birdhouse we had to spray paint it and I was really excited because I love art and the idea of painting was exciting. I just didn’t know that spray painting a birdhouse was not going to be so easy. I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted the birdhouse to look like and I think that complicated things. I knew that I wanted some sort of design so we tried to do a leafy design but lets just say it didn’t go well… On the bright side we ending up making a design using tape! As you can see we ended up having a striped pattern. Or one time we lost the dowel to the birdhouse which led us to creating another one in a matter of minutes, only to find the dowel inside the birdhouse and hour later. But there definitely good parts like getting to nail the wood together with a new machine or just seeing our progress in general and how far we’d come. Overall we managed to finish strong. With all of our nerves, confidence and sudden bravery we pulled through all the “scary” tools and our birdhouse in my opinion looks amazing.

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