Seventh Graders Learn about Engineering and Design

Seventh grade engineering students at South Middle School have been learning about engineering and design processes by reproducing, then working to invent their own computer models.  Introduction to Engineering students are sketching, measuring, and creating 3-D models of existing Lego figures.  This process helps students learn to visualize and measure designed objects and to work with modern tools that designers use to create products.

Students first sketch their pieces on paper, then add precision measurements using dial calipers to measure the parts.  The calipers measure to the thousandth of an inch.  (A piece of paper is about .004″ of an inch, hair is about .002″)  After their measured sketches are completed, students are using a 3-D modeling program called Autodesk Inventor to create a computer model of the part. Once several parts are completed, students assemble the pieces together and can create dimensioned drawings to communicate their ideas.

Students use a design process to brainstorm and select a challenging and personally interesting concept to create.  The models they invent must be designed to work with existing Lego blocks and should fit with a theme they find interesting.  The culminating activity for the course will be the creation of a part or accessory to use in a “Lego City” model where all students in each class will combine their models together into one location.  Students will be able to download a short fly-through video of their town for personal review.

Introduction to Engineering is an course that all seventh graders participate in to explore engineering and STEM related fields. Students who enjoy these types of activities or think they may have a future in engineering can take more classes in engineering at Prairieview and Waukee High School

560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701