On the first day of school, I came into this class not knowing how to feel about it. I had heard countless praises from the previous junior classes regarding how great it was and how amazing Ms. Oropallo was. I had never been a part of anything relating to engineering whatsoever and I was uneasy about the tools and large machines I saw before me as I walked through the doorway. We received a mindful orientation by Ms. O that was not probably not meant to scare us, but more as to be a warning that this was not a class we could be immature high schoolers trying to get a laugh out of our classmates.
Our first project was a wooden spoon which seemed easy enough, even though I had no idea how to start. I wanted it to be perfect, despite this being my first time working with wood. To start I could not come up with a design that looked nice but was also manageable. I settled with a flower shaped head with leaves coming off of the stem. The process went well enough because with every step I had instructions on what to do and how to fix anything if needed. I was happy with my results and quite proud of myself for creating something I could use in my daily life.
The next thing we worked on was a toolbox. I think all of them were the same design, but all had different outcomes. It was interesting seeing how each one of my classmates finalized theirs, with cool designs especially with the laser cutter. Both of these projects were just the beginning of the large project to come.
After this, we found out the groups we would be working with to create our chicken coops. I was happy to find that I would be working with Natasha, Katie, and Lizzi. All of which I had worked with before and got along well with. We decided on a basic chicken coop design and began to work through the steps to create it. We had a great time at The Away Station and Urban Ore finding little things we needed or would help make our coop better. Then came the building stage. One thing our group kind of struggled with was measurements. We weren’t sure why but we would measure something right, but when it came to put everything together there would be some mess-up and we would have to redo it. I think it was helpful for us to be working all together at the same time on a task because we were all still figuring ourselves out in the way that we had never really built anything before or had a lot of experience with engineering. The negative part of this was that it played into a loss of time for us. As the year went on, we were able to split up and work on separate projects as we became more comfortable with ourselves. We have now since finished and are so happy with the result!
A project that I think everyone enjoyed was building the goat play structure at Goatlandia. It was an amazing experience for all of us to be able to apply the skills we have accumulated over the year and show them off in a way. We worked for a while and then took breaks and visited all of the cute animals on display. The baby goats were my favorite, we even got to see them being bottle-fed! We had help from a few contractors and volunteer chaperones who were very helpful and made sure we were staying hydrated and had the right amount of sunscreen on to keep from getting sunburnt. We ended up being there from 8:00 in the morning to around 7:00 at night. It was a long process, but it was so worth it to see the end result and thinking to ourselves, “Wow, we really made that”. Not to mention the food was amazing!
Overall, my year in engineering with Ms. Oropallo and my amazing classmates has been so great and I have appreciated every moment. I really hope to be able to learn more about engineering and building and be able to apply myself in the future. Thanks for a great year everyone! Love you all so much!