Marian Catholic High School
Chicago Heights, Illinois, USA
Grade level(s) or classroom focus:
What are the main learning objectives in your course(s)?
I teach Engineering I, II, III and afterschool Robotics Club. Students must learn and apply the Engineering Cycle to engineering challenges. As students progress through Engineering I, they learn CAD, robotics programming, 3D Design and Printng, Basic Electronics, and measurenent of distance, voltage, current, and resistance.
These skills are used in Engineering II and III to solve engineering challenges and contests of their own choosing. Past challenges include pinball machine, Giant Trebuchets, and during the Covid 19 Pandemic, Designing a face shield that won't slide off your forehead (students made 400 shields for local hospitals as well).
Describe the experience for you and your students.
My students are honor students whom excel in Math and Science courses. Students are highly motivated to work together in teams for alll challenges they themselves choose. Students can select any type of
engineering they are interested in such as Aerospace, Electronics, Manufacturing, Transportation, or SOE probem solving invention they have an idea about trying out.
Which Parallax items do you use in your course?
I have been using Parallax robots since the old serial port days. Currently, we use 20 ActivityBots and we're adding cyber:bots for the Engineering I class. We also use Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and the BBC micro:bit in the robotics club.
What is your favorite Parallax product and why?
The Activity Bot, because I've been using it so long. It has evolved into a robust platform useful for many
sensory inputs and outputs.
Any tips for other teachers?
Set up a makerspace with tools for fabricating prototypes. Let students learn programming without throwing answers at them. This teaches them not to quit, and gives them self esteem having earned their skills through hard work.