About Innovations in Engineering

A few weeks ago, I visited Fred Warren’s “Innovations in Engineering” class. As I expected, there was a lot of activity in the classroom, with Warren encouraging the students to work independently and self-monitor. And as I also expected, Mr. Warren referred me to the students to better understand what was going on. More specifically, I spoke with Shannon McDonald, Nicolas Baggett, Brittany Swanson and Vernisha Jackson (see photo of these four students below). IMG_3335 GCAA Hanging of Green These students explained that the Innovations class is actually two classes in one. Those students in the Innovations I class are given a project by Mr. Warren. They are given one month to complete the project, which is then graded. Nicolas Baggett explained that many of the projects involved construction of various types. Current projects include construction of model airplanes, bridges (e.g., made of cards—see the photo below) and towers (e.g., made of spaghetti). IMG_3337 GCAA Hanging of Green Shannon McDonald stated that the students learn to carefully document and record their progress on the project so that others would be able to replicate all aspects of the project, including the reasoning process of the student. IMG_3320 GCAA Hanging of Green IMG_3317 GCAA Hanging of Green Brittany Swanson described Innovations II, in which Mr. Warren supervises the students’ development of the projects. The students are required to create their own engineering projects during the semester. IMG_3327 GCAA Hanging of Green IMG_3306 GCAA Hanging of Green IMG_3315 GCAA Hanging of Green These projects are complex and take many forms, including games, video documentaries and policing strategies. One of these projects (on climate change) was created by Daniel Schmidt and it appears below in the form of a video. -- Gallery: