Learning gets real for middle school engineering students

January 18, 2019
teacher helps student with project

A group of young engineers were presented with a challenge: design and develop an efficient and effective process to manufacture a product. What made this unique was that the engineers were seventh graders at Stillwater Middle School and their assignment was part of the final project for their Automation and Robotics class.

The entire class was charged with the task of creating an assembly line to manufacture a product from start to finish. Together the students had to figure out how to design machines to perform each task of the assembly - from cutting and shaping the object to painting and packaging the finished product. Small groups were tasked with designing each piece of the line for a specific task, while considering how their machine fit into the overall assembly line.

With a few basic parameters to consider, the students were given complete freedom to design a unique and creative solution to their piece of the puzzle. They were given nuts and bolts, metal sheets and hand tools and worked together to draw out a plan and turn it into a reality. Along the way they adjusted and adapted when their original plans failed by putting their heads together to come up with a new solution.

“It’s just fun to work with everyone,” said one student. “In most classes we have to sit and listen. But this class is active. We do so much more and get to express ourselves.”