Engineering shows its two faces

In Room 368, every table has a four-foot tall Rube Goldberg machine on it. In UA 11, saws, sanders and every other tool imaginable surround a few tables supporting the futuristic locker organizers students are building. These are the engineering rooms.

The school has two engineering classes: one run by the science department and one run by the career and technology education department. The two classes differ due to the role science plays in each class.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, the students are working and trying to solve problems,” said science teacher Aubrey Love, who teaches Engineering By Design, the science department’s engineering class. “I might be walking around and help a little bit here and there, but it’s really about what you can come up with through trial and error.”

Both classes focus on engineering, but Engineering By Design is more math- and physics- based than the elective class, Engineering the Future, according to Ed Wiser, the science department curriculum coordinator.

“It’s more hands on,” said Glen Gurner, of his Engineering the Future class. “I try to bring a little science into it. It’s more project-based, and it’s about making things and how to put things together.”

Both of the engineering classes follow the same design process of figuring out the problem, planning out what they are going to do, making a model, doing tweaks and then creating the final product, according to Wiser.

The Engineering By Design projects, however, require equations to help plan out every detail, according to senior Marshal Rekovskyson.

“Its a lot of physics,” Rekovskyson said. “Engineering requires a lot of physics because you need to know about the force needed to do something. We aren’t going to do calculations on the fly. Understanding the forces in effect, gravity and friction, definitely helps us make better machines.”

There is also a difference between the two classes in their access to large tools. The Engineering the Future class has access to all of the advanced tools in the basement of the Unified Arts Building, while the Engineering By Design class only uses the tools they have in their classroom and what the career and technology education department will give to them.

According to Wiser, Engineering the Future introduces fundamentals of engineering while Engineering By Design does projects that require more in-depth knowledge of engineering. Both aim to help students figure out whether or not engineering is something they want to pursue later in their life.

“We are given the freedom to do whatever we want and to add our own spin,” said Rekovskyson. “Most projects have strict guidelines and have a strict goal, but in this class, we just build.”

Alex Friedman can be contacted at [email protected]