Many classrooms in ARS and all around Austin contain the same things: chairs, desks, and maybe some computers. But something unique about this school is that we have a room where everyone can be comfortable and learn at the same time: the PLTW room. This room is originally used for the Project Lead The Way (pltw) class, which teaches young women like ourselves, to construct different objects, program different websites and videos, make 3D objects with a 3D printer, and much more. Maybe other schools do this, but what we have is much more special. All of these things the room holds, helps us make some advanced objects, like a prosthetic leg.
We can construct or program many things depending on our interests, which is something I really enjoy in this class. A lot of our girls have many different interests, but no matter what it is, there is a module we have that you can put so much effort into. My interest is the biomedical field, because I enjoy coming up with new things to help people of all ages. That is one of the reasons I am planning on going into the biomed pathway once I get into high-school. Looking through all the options under biomed, I noticed that there was one for prosthetics, and I decided with my group that prosthetics would be a challenge we were willing to go through.
While going through all the instructions, it took a lot of brainstorming in the beginning to actually know what you want, or how you want it. Many measurements are needed because you need the measurements to know how long you need it, or how wide you need it to fit the clients knee. Although taking measurements is not the biggest challenge, you had to be very accurate or it would mess the whole leg and project up because it wouldn’t fit. This module may have been challenging through the process, but we had fun with it. That one main reason many students enjoy this class, you can have fun but get your work done. One of my favorite things about this module, is that you can be creative with the way you construct the leg, and how you present it. When we first started to construct the leg, we had no idea how to put the materials together because we didn’t think we needed to brainstorm about it. But once you manage to figure out those materials you need by testing out their stability and durability, you basically know how the leg will work.
Another challenge that we faced was finding out a way to put the leg onto the knee without hurting Rebecca, which was our client for this module. We had to brainstorm again for way to connect the leg onto her body without using harmful materials that can damage your skin like glue, hot glue, nails, needles, etc. It took us a while, but we finally figured out that we could use a thick rope that we can connect around her leg. It took some trial and error before we could find the final way to attach the leg to her body. But trial and error is something we have to get used to because its never going to be perfect the first time you do it. The final product was very satisfying because not only did it work, but it brought my team and I closer in many ways that working alone couldn’t have. I have gained many skills like teamwork, communication, using different tools and measuring accurately. All of this can later on help me in other modules and in life.
By: Karla Ruiz