Putting it Together…

By Kayla Clementson

MSEL Engineering | Putting it Together Just to Take it Apart

     This past week the elliptical my family ordered arrived at our house. I was excited that it had finally come, and I assumed my dad would set it up and in no time it would be ready to use. I opened the large box and multiple bags of screws, parts, and tools fell to the floor. My dad came down and looked at all the parts and the long list of directions and said,

     “Good Luck.”

    He has always assembled or built things for me, so this challenge seemed out of my league. But then I remembered the skills I’ve learned in MSEL engineering and I thought :

     “I got this!”

    I pulled out the pamphlet and read over it. I started to get the tools I needed; a wrench and a small screw driver. The next step was putting all the parts in their correct places, which wasn’t difficult, but some of the parts were heavy and I dropped one on my foot. After I cried, got angry, simmered down, and put a bag of frozen peas on my foot, I went back to work.

    It took a few minutes to line everything up. Then I unscrewed a few bolts, put them into different places, used the screwdriver to put in a few more smaller screws, made sure the handles were correctly adjusted, and it was done. I stood it up and admired my work. Although I just put together something simple with the help of instructions, I still felt proud because I had done it all by myself.

…Just to Take it Apart

By: Sofia Ruiz

    It was hot. The sun was shining high in the sky, its rays beat down on the late autumn day. I was sitting on the swing in my backyard, watching my uncle and grandpa break apart the old couch we’d had for years. I raced with the sun to finish my ice cream, trying to eat it all before it melted away. I saw them ripping apart the faded fabric, stripping off the cushioning and leaving behind the old, battered, wooden frame. When I finished my ice cream I decided it might be fun to help them out. After all, I had just spent the last two months learning how to hold a hammer. How hard could it be?

    I walked up behind them and watched a while longer. I could hear them joking about how tough they were for breaking apart the couch on their own and figured this would be the perfect chance to show off my newly aquired MSEL Engineering skills. I picked up the hammer they had left lying on the floor beside them and asked if I could help.

    “Uh, sure. Pass me that hammer, thanks.”

    Not exactly the response I was hoping for.

    I went for the drill next, thinking I’d look more confident if I held a bigger tool. I didn’t say anything this time, simply walked up to a piece of the frame they had left in the corner. Earlier, I had seen them struggling to take it apart with the hammer. Maybe the nails were bent and it was hard to disassemble? I walked over to check it out.

    Right away I noticed the problem. Ms. Oropallo had been drilling us about it all week long (haha get it, drilling, I’m holding a drill?). The frame was put together with screws, there was no way they were going to be able to take those out with a hammer! Like a boss, and because I was already holding the drill, I didn’t even ask permission to help any more. I could do it myself.

    As soon as I tested out the trigger, they turned around to see what I was doing. “Don’t play with that, you’ll break it!” they yelled.

    “Ok, sorry,” I replied, as I looked around for the correct-sized bit. I changed it out, making sure to use the trick Ms. O had taught us, which included having to hit the drill’s trigger. Again it caused noise, and again they turned to see what I was doing messing around with the “men’s” tools.

    Before they could react I bent over the frame, pressed the bit against the screw, hit reverse, and took out my first screw. All they could do was blink.

    “Where did you learn to use a drill?” my uncle asked.

    I took out another screw before replying, “school.”

    Out of the corner of my eye I could see them share a look of surprise. That’s right, girls can use tools too. I kept going, and eventually they turned back around to continue doing their own thing. After a while, and after I was done taking the pieces apart, I left them with a pile of screws neatly stacked next to the drill. I went back inside, wondering if we had any more ice cream.


  1. I love how you juxtaposed putting things together and taking them apart while they both had the similarity of using engineering. You showed how in simple everyday life we can always be using engineering and how little skills we learn in engineering help us outside of school. Great job!

  2. I loved the layout of this blog. I’m glad that both of you have used your newly-acquired construction skills to complete projects at home. I’m sure everyone is starting to notice more situations that utilize their new knowledge.

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