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High School Engineering Class: From Wood Shop to Advanced Manufacturing


"The maker movements, a general term for the rise of inventing, designing, and tinkering, and the addition of engineering standards to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have spawned a major evolution in technology classes throughout the country. At Georgia Institute of Technology, a new curriculum attempts to bring the maker movement to high school audiences through both curricular and extra-curricular channels. The curriculum is structured around engineering standards and learning goals that reflect design and advanced manufacturing content, along with employability skills, while borrowing best practices from 'wood shop' and 'technology education' classes. The hope is that this course will bolster many of the 'Attributes of Engineers in 2020' described by the National Academy of Engineering and 21st Century Skills--these skills and attributes can be beneficial to any college or career path, not just one in engineering. The course incorporates design-build activities into entrepreneurial and business contexts, providing relevance to foundational math skills and science practices while integrating problem solving and cutting-edge technology. The course requires that students draw and render design concepts, communicate design concepts to their peers and clients, fabricate design artifacts, and document their requirements and decisions while engaging in the engineering design process.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the results from the first and second year implementation of a maker-infused Advanced Manufacturing (AM) course for high school students in a low income, rural-fringe school system. Results from a portfolio assessment and 21st Century Skills surveys will be discussed in terms of course effectiveness and challenges to implementation. Similarities and differences between learning goals for this new AM course and the more traditional wood shop and technology education classes will be highlighted. Implications for engineering education, theory, and practice are discussed."