I have left my career as an Industrial Designer to pursue a career as a High School Technology Design teacher. I am currently enrolled in school and I am thinking of various projects to share with my students when I do my practical teaching term. I am just wondering, if you can remember, what was your favourite High School Technology design projects? For me it was the design of a Co2 dragster. I really want to prepare students for a career in Industrial Design, Architecture, or Engineering. Any ideas or suggestions would be of value. What did you like about your high school class, what did you dislike? Is there something that could have prepared you better for College or University?
A great project would be to build a wooden catapult. We did this in school (the catapult was pre-built though) and we used Excel and a third-order equation to directly hit a target. Basically we took data on the angle that we pulled the catapult back, the distance that our projectile went, and another variable that I forgot. Then we used a cubed equation to solve for the distance based on the data we collected. It was fun being able to hit those little green plastic soldiers with a certain amount of accuracy. Sorry if my explanation is vague, but it’s a suggestion that I really think your students will enjoy. There’s math and construction (and a little light destruction once they start using the thing).
I’m not sure where you are in Ontario, but I went to Saunders in London and because of the huge size of the school, they were able to offer some really cool design courses, and I felt I was way more prepared for first year engineering than most of my class.
My favorite two projects were actually relatively simple, but that left open some opportunities for inventiveness, and I still like to talk about them!
The first (gr 9) was a standard balloon-powered car, but they gave us these plastic nozzles to get a higher (and directed) velocity out of the balloon. I ended up gluing paddles to the rear axle, and aiming the nozzle at that, which not only made it go faster and further, it made this awesome revving sound, and I actually had to add rubber to the wheels or it would burnout.
The second (gr 11) was a cardboard chair project, but I decided it was too easy, and made a recliner. It would have worked, it was around halloween and I got some 4-ply cardboard from those boxes they use for pumpkins, but one of the support pillars shifted out of alignment… still got a perfect mark though
In the grade 11 design class we also did a lot of AutoCAD, learning how to draw 3D object in first and third angle projections. Our final project was to design an entire house layout, and we actually took a field trip to a new development to see how things were done. They had a document which basically simplified the building codes for us (hallway width, stair height/depth, etc.), our floorplans had to be up to code, and we had to build a model out of foamcore.
I benefited from having an excellent highschool technology department. A few things we did:
Lots of mechanical drawing (take the object, draft it, draw isometrics)
Design your dream house, draw plans, elevations …
Design a phone (sketch 3, make a survey, ask 20 people which they liked and why, draft the final in all views…)
Simple home electrics
I think we built a little robot thing
Some introductory CAD (and this was in like 1990)
Was really awesome.
I did a subject called “Design” in year 9 and 10. The good projects I remember were throw an egg off a first floor balcony and stop it breaking using only one sheet of newspaper and an allowance of tape and string. Build a bridge between two desks using 100 paddlepop sticks and glue to support one house brick, make a rube goldberg machine to catch a wind-up mouse, all good fun stuff.
We studied Rome in history and I made a model catapult in the woodwork shop, with a rope spring.