9th/10th Grade, Mill Creek High School
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Kelly Dyar had a nontraditional start to education. While she was running a photography business that specialized in senior portraits, she realized how much she enjoyed working with high school seniors. Kelly had taken the GACE for math and decided to apply to be a substitute teacher. Three years ago, she walked into Mill Creek High School as a long-term Algebra II math substitute and has never left. Shortly after she started, Kelly was asked to return to her undergraduate roots and teach Engineering in a new program at the school focused on experiential learning. That program is now in its third year and growing!
Rapid Prototyping and Experiential Learning
This project is focused on giving students more hands on opportunities to see their designs developed into prototypes. A key piece of the Engineering Design Process is that students test their designs by creating a prototype and then evaluate and troubleshoot their design. When using computer aided drafting software, students can create their design. Through the purchasing of a 3D printer capable of producing students’ designs, students will be able to properly evaluate, troubleshoot and revise their designs from the 3D prototypes. This process in turn will reinforce the Engineering Design Process and academic concepts in math and science.
In addition to academic growth, this project targets students' self-esteem and critical thinking skills. The engineering design process teaches students to build, evaluate and revise. If a student is able to learn from their mistakes and make revisions, this will help increase achievement, build self-esteem, and improve critical thinking skills. Indeed, students will focused on the process of learning, not just on the end result.