Engineering program grows with partnership
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 is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.