Engineering program grows with partnership

Heights High engineering teacher Greg Nachman guides Jackson Herschman on an aspect of the circuit board assembly. Sam Kramer and Zakee Ali (L-R) solder components to circuit boards. 

Heights High students in the Digital Electronics (DE) Engineering course are learning about digital logic by creating a random-number generator—think of it as an electronic way to roll dice. To begin the activity, each student received a kit that included a circuit board, sockets, chips, capacitors, resistors, LED lights and a switch. After three days of assembly work, everyone in the class had a working random-number generator. 

The DE course is one of two engineering courses offered this year as part of the district’s partnership with Project Lead the Way, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to using hands-on projects to increase the number of students who graduate with a background in science and technology. The Heights High engineering program is in its second year, following a restructuring that created the Project Lead the Way engineering courses.

“The DE course covers the foundation of the electronic devices that students use—cell phones, laptops and hi-def TV,” said engineering teacher Greg Nachman, who is also coach of the Robotics Club that designs and creates a Battle Bot to compete in spring competitions. “Students enjoy learning about how their devices work and doing the actual work to solder a circuit board."

In addition to the DE course, the school also offers an entry-level Introduction to Engineering and Design course that is focused on the design process and includes projects that use 3D-modeling software and a 3D printer.

In the 2017–18 school year, Heights High will add a Principles of Engineering survey course to the program, which will expose students to concepts they will encounter in a college engineering program. Topics will include mechanisms, energy, statics, materials and kinematics. In the 2018–19 school year, a capstone project course for seniors will be added to the program, in which students will identify a problem and design a product to solve the challenge. 

Heights High's engineering courses are part of the school’s Career and Technical Education Program.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 7:11 PM, 11.01.2016