Small Class: Big Ideas


Tehya Demmer

Juniors Ben Moorman and Brandon Buelow test the different mechanical advantages of simple machines in Principals of Engineering.

Not many students at West Delaware have only one classmate, but this is the norm in Principles of Engineering second semester.

Jennie Voss teaches Principles of Engineering to two students, juniors Ben Moorman and Brandon Buelow.

In the class, students learn the basic types of engineering: mechanics, coding, motion, statics. Since engineering has such a wide range of career paths, this dual credit class gives students a taste of the basics so students have some sort of direction when they enter college.

“I plan on majoring in computer science after high school, and the robot project helped me confirm that,” Moorman said.

Principles of Engineering is a very hands-on, independent class. Students are encouraged to not follow the book and always have the freedom to change their projects any way they want.

Students built many different types of simple and compound machines in this class.  So far, they have built a simulation of a city, a coded racetrack, and a light switch extension that turns on and off a light. Soon they’ll be building electric cars, a marble sorter, and a few more machines.

“Principles of Engineering is a fun class for students who want to learn more about the field of engineering. They get to build fun machines like robots while learning.””

— Miss Jennie Voss

The students and Voss built robots, raced them down the hallways, and completed an obstacle course. Since Voss is very competitive, the competitions would be more intense if more students took the class.  

“I would love to have more students to destroy in competitions, but on the rare occasion someone beats me, they get bragging rights,” Voss said.

This class is completely different from its prerequisite, Introduction to Engineering and Design.

“This class has more physical building,” Buelow said. “The prerequisite is mainly just CAD Drafting.”

According to Voss, Principles of Engineering not only helps students find direction in the huge field of engineering, but it also looks good on scholarships and college applications.

“Principles of Engineering is a fun class for students who want to learn more about the field of engineering,” Voss said. “They get to build fun machines like robots while learning.”

Principal Tim Felderman felt it was important to offer the class. “These students were expecting to receive two years of engineering classes before they graduate, so we couldn’t just take it away,” Felderman said.

Felderman has already looked into the expected numbers for the class next year, and the numbers will be higher.

“This is an excellent class for students to take because it is taught at a high level and fits into West Delaware’s vision statement,” Felderman said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email