Engineering among McNick’s emerging course

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during H bell, math teacher Steve Dalton trades Calculus and Algebra II for engineering. The engineering course was added to McNicholas High school’s curriculum approximately six years ago from an idea proposed by then Science Department Chair Regina Goines and was then started and taught by current IT teacher Jolene Esz.  

Engineering is the branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures. The course gives students the option to really work on solutions to solve real world problems using technology. With the resources on campus such as the Makerspace, this idea can be brought to life. With new PCs, a CNC wood machine, and 3D printers, students taking this course have plenty of tools to use technology to try and find solutions to even the simplest problems, as well as have plenty of fun with the creation process.

The engineering class is designed to be an extremely hands-on course and students have the opportunity to go off-site to work with the organization May We Help, which according to their website helps adapt devices “not available in the marketplace” to help those with a disability to achieve independence. Using help from volunteers like the McNicholas engineering students, May We Help can “design, build, and deliver custom devices at no cost to hundreds of clients every year.”  

Students who wish to be part of this class need to have a trustworthy past record and need to be able to prove other classes won’t cause issues with the workload engineering requires.  Senior Conner Dute said, “If someone is thinking about taking this course, I would recommend tinkering around in electrical systems get a good understanding of them, playing around in 3D CAD software and maybe trying to identify some problems and designing some solutions for them.”

This class demands outside of the box thinkers who aren’t scared of rejection or voicing ideas. The tasks also ask for an extremely high level of responsibility as well as curiosity and creativity.

“The most interesting part of this class so far is how we must think outside the box to find possible solution to differing problems,” Dute said. He also added that “the most challenging aspect of this course so far has been trying to turn my brain into thinking outside of the box. Normally we don’t do that in school, but in this class, there are so many situations where thinking outside the box is needed. This challenge is very interesting and fun to try and complete.”

H bell Engineering Students prepare to 3D print in the McMakerspace. Students both design and print models like the “M” logo in the story thumbnail or look for new 3D print models to mimic. The class sometimes splits with half of the class in the McMakerspace while the other half is in the lab with Teacher Steve Dalton.

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