Starting this year, I viewed the class of MarinSEL Engineering as a mandatory class that was needed to graduate as a SEL student, and a place in my school schedule where I could be either be sleeping or learning a subject that would impress colleges. I went into my first few weeks of class having, I’ll admit, not the best attitude. Being the stubborn Taurus that I am, I felt that since I told my friends that I was dreading taking the class, I had to stick to my word.

When we were told to get our tools, I put it off until I absolutely needed them. Even then, my dad, an avid woodworker, was the one who went to the store and got them to me. He excitedly explained all the tools that he bought me, required and not, as I sat on the couch getting lost in the gossip from the lives of those in Downton Abbey.

The weeks blew by, and my negative attitude slowly faded away with them. Ms.O’s peppy and determined spirit made it hard to dislike the class, and by the time we finished our first project, spoon making, I was smiling along with my peers. It was an added bonus that I came out of it with a far-from-perfect looking kitchen utensil, though my parents did gave me undeserved praise that I welcomed with open arms.

When the class and the higher ups of MarinSEL came to a consensus that we would be building chicken coops this year, I was happy to learn that I would be building alongside my close friends Nicole, Jasmine, and Esther. One of the first times our group met was with a group of first graders from Vallecito. I, personally, am not the biggest fan of children, so it was quite the experience to have eight little kids screaming, mostly unhelpful, ideas at us while we tried to accommodate all of them; It gave us a taste of how our teachers feel. If nothing else, it was a character building day for the group.

The next week our group met and designed our coop, including a scale model. The rest of the class seemed to be looking at our group with such remarks as “You guys aren’t going to get anything done,” or “Good luck with her in your group.” Hearing these things made us come to a group consensus: Our chicken coop had to be cooler, better, and more complex than all the other ones. We would show them. As a group, we decided to take on a hexagonal coop instead of the basic square or rectangle that all the other groups chose.


We made a list of all the things we’d need to complete our chicken coop, which included washers, bolts, a window, and much more. On the field trip we visited two junk yards. At the first, Urban Ore, we got some Plexiglas and a metal frame that we later decided to use as the frame for our nesting boxes. Since we didn’t get that much at the first stop, we had to look extra hard at the second. There, we found our window, nuts and bolts, chains, and all the remaining things from our list.

Once the building process got going it seemed that we were all on the same page: Excited to build and motivated to get it done quickly. So far, we haven’t had any problems other than one of us having to leave for a sports match every once in a while.

The progress I have made in my attitude toward engineering, and trying new things in general, makes me excited for trying new things in the future. Thus far, I have learned the power of good group work ethic,how to turn negatives into positives, and how to use various power tools. I know there will be much more I learn about this year, as we are only half way into the year.

Chicken Coop


  1. Thanks for the laugh! However I simply cant understand why you would think of engineering as just a “mandatory” class. Maybe its just me. Conversely, I am super proud of you for tackling a complex design! Those angles must have been a pain to cut.

  2. i love your blog! its fun that you can be in a group with your close friends that makes it so much more fun! I totally understand how you felt though i didnt get my tools until we actually started our coops. I still dont have everything even now haha

  3. I’m glad your attitude about the class changed, it really is great. Also, I totally agree, the input of the second graders wasn’t really helpful. I love the design of your coop and as much as I hate to admit it, your’s may be the coolest.

  4. Thanks for the shoutout girl and yes I can agree that our coop is the coolest in the class! This entry was so funny and I laughed about how clearly you decribed our group’s competitveness by talking about how we wanted to have the best coop in the class.

  5. Awesome blog entry Aimee! This is too relatable: my dad also went and bought me way too many things. By the way, I think your group already has one of the coolest chicken coops! Can’t wait to see how it turns out in the future!

  6. Great blog Aimee!! Your chicken coop is already looking sick and I can’t wait to see what it will look like when you guys are done. You are so right about this class being a huge confidence booster, I come out of it feeling like I can do anything!!

  7. First of all, oh my goodness, I love your blog, Aimee! You don’t need to prove anything to us, we all already know how amazing you guys are, and your capacity to grow:) And my group always talks about your bungalow and how cute it is… It is so fun to come to the class when everyone is so inclined to work and to learn. I totally agree that it took some warming up to, but in the end its impossible not to adore the class.

  8. Awesome job with your blog Aimee! I loved reading it and I really liked how you talked about your horoscope. Your group has done a really good job on creating a unique design and so far it has turned out great. I love having you in class and I am glad you have a different outlook on the class now!!

  9. Wow! This can not be any more relatable, very well said. I 100% agree that our group will have the best chicken coop, and all of those things said in the beginning of the year have motivated us to make our coop great. Your outlook on the class has changed throughout the year and it is awesome because now we are having an amazing time. I’m so happy we are in the same group and I can’t wait for the end of school when our chicken coop is done and perfect.

  10. I liked reading this a lot, you gave a great description of your perspective. Your coop is definitely very unique and cool. I can’t wait to see your finished product it’s going to be amazing!

  11. Great job Aimee! It’s cool to see everyone’s personal transformation as they move through this class. It seems like everyone has expanded their creative thinking abilities throughout the process of this project. Your coop looks great!!!

  12. Awesome post! I’m glad you like the class now!! I’m so jealous of your chicken coup, it looks awesome and its such a creative shape! I also very much agree with you about the first graders… that was a hectic time.

  13. I have to admit I had almost the same attitude towards the class at the beginning, but now I love it! I agree with what you said about the Vallecito kids coming, but it was still fun. I love your groups chicken coop! Great job!

  14. Great post Aimee!! Just for the record, everyone in the class knew that your group would do great, and you certainly are proving that! Im glad you were able to change your outlook because I know EVERYONE loves this class. Keep up the good work!!!!!!

  15. Well, this is probably the best blog yet this year! Thanks for the shoutout 😉 and I definitely agree with you about making the best coop ever because I want to show everyone how great we are; it’s already pretty fire.

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