Engineering students approach unsolved problems

Engineering students are reaching new heights in CVHS’s first ever fourth-year engineering class, which focuses on the application of all of the things that engineering students have learned in previous years and applying them to the real world. 

Each student is placed into a team based on their particular sub-interest in the engineering community. These teams include environmental, architectural and structural, transportation, time management, technology, entertainment, security, and parks and recreation. 

Every team has a different project that they will be working on year long. For example, the architectural team is working on developing sustainable housing and the environmental team is working on a solution to sorting different types of recycling. There are different checkpoints along the way, and for their final, students will present their ideas in a simulation similar to the  “Shark Tank” television program where innovators show their creative inventions to investors. 

“I’ll reintroduce one of the topics in the design process, and help them stay organized and up to date on where they should be on the timeline of their project. They’re going to be presenting this in a showcase event at the end of the year,” explained Jessica Porter, both the fourth-year engineering teacher and the second-year engineering teacher. 

As the year goes on, students focus on different aspects of the design process, which begins with brainstorming ideas for problems that haven’t yet been solved. For some, this is the most challenging part because it is hard to find problems that people have not yet found solutions to. For example, the environment team first wanted to focus on eco friendly batteries but soon found that there was already research on the chemical composition of the battery, so it was better to spend their time on a different way to keep our planet clean. 

“I’m most excited to create our prototype, because it’s more hands on and we can actually do things, rather than just talking and researching,” described senior Isabel Walth on her recycling sorting prototype that is soon to come. 

Porter hopes to find a way to use the machines they already have in order to make their prototypes in the Spring, and despite COVID-19 making things more challenging across the board, both students and Porter are excited to put prototypes into action.

Students are meant to utilize prior engineering knowledge in order to apply it to real-world situations, and in this case, their projects and prototypes. 

“A lot of the students are all friends with each other, so we all get along pretty well, and we’re all doing something we like,” Walth stated, showing how teammates that work together can get the job done. 

The course is very open ended,  and kids come into this class with a basic understanding of the subject and are presented with the question of how it can fit into the real world. 

“The class really helps students apply what they know to something that they may want to do with their career or study. Whether or not this project is actually something that’s designed, or goes into something that is worth continuing research over, it is something that sees the application of engineering more so than just learning materials. It could definitely one day really help someone,” Porter described, once again emphasizing the importance of this class and it’s application to the real world upon high school, and hopefully college, graduation. 

Engineering students are working hard to make the world a better place, and we can see that by their clear problem solving skills and intentful research. 

“The class is more helpful than the other engineering classes because we are getting a sense on how real world engineers develop ideas,” finished senior Nikolas Sawczuk.

2 thoughts on “Engineering students approach unsolved problems

  • January 20, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    It is amazing to see that the engineering students are creating innovative projects during these difficult times. I really liked the idea of the “Shark Tank” themed end of the year presentations.

  • January 20, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Really like the article, excellent coverage of the projects.

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